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Medical Terms


Who do you think are the most cynical people in the world? Cops? Executioners? Or maybe prostitutes? Clowns?

Were thinking its doctors. If you want proof, check out some of the horrifying-yet-hilarious slang they use around the office. Yes, these are real.

When Its Used: When a patient comes into the ER more hysterical than ill, the doctor reassures the patient and asks them to leave. However, this acronym has gotten at least one doctor into trouble when he scribbled it in a patients chart and then later was asked to explain it in court.

Were not saying you should ever lie in court, but in that situation you should at least consider it.

When Its Used: If television is to be believed, any condition, no matter how egregious or how slim the chances of survival, can be surmounted with the intervention of a charismatic, slightly eccentric doctor or the introduction of a particularly salient plot point.

Well, television is not to be believed. If a patient split from crotch to neck, sustained a shotgun wound to the chest, or fell twenty stories onto the pavement, then a great deals up to a God. Assuming he exists, or cares. Thus we get the AMYOYO Syndrome diagnosis, with the variations SOLOMFYOYO (So long, Motherfucker, Youre On Your Own) and GPO (Good for Parts Only).

When Its Used: If you wind up in the emergency room because, say, you were trying to launch bottle rockets out of your anus, you can expect to hear this term thrown around. Latin, or pseudo-latin, is often used to convey unflattering terms and make it sound grandiloquent to the uninformed (or faecal-encephalopathic) ear.

Variations include Cranio-Rectal Syndrome and Cranial Rectosis, presumably for when the patient doesnt have shit for brains but merely has his head up his ass.

What It Means: Also called an "Open and Close" or a "Peek and Shriek," this is when a surgeon opens up a patient for surgery, discovers nothing can be done to avert the inevitable, and sews them back up immediately. Or, if they feel like it, practice surgical technique for a while.

When Its Used: Generally, this is encoded as "C&P," "CNP" or something similar, so that the head of the department knows what happened but the to-be-aggrieved family doesnt. Typically this happens with very old people, those with suddenly aggravated chronic health problems, or people with inoperable cancer, soon resulting in a "healthy tumor" (a dead patient).

When Its Used: When the medical staff encounters a strange complaint that doesnt meet any known diagnostic criteria. As much as you dont want to hear SBI as your diagnosis, its still better than the alternate SVBI (Something Very Bad Inside) which means whatever it is appears to be killing you.

Either may be followed up with a "SWAG" (Scientific Wild-Ass Guess).

What It Means: Cletus the Fetus. Used to describe infants born at 23 weeks or earlier, where their survival rate is less than 1%. There are no confirmed cases of babies surviving at 22 weeks or earlier, which means that children born then are less likely to live than someone who just jumped off the Empire State Building.

When Its Used: New parents have a tendency to not hear anything that doesnt fit the "Our child will survive because he is special, we are special, and we love him" paradigm. No. Little Cletus will make it no matter what those mean old overpaid white coats tell Mommy and Daddy. Because life works like Lifetime home movies.

Its at this point you should realize that when youre surrounded by the sick and dying every day, no subject is too dark for comedy.

What It Means: Hospitals use a series of emergency codes (Code Blue, for instance, means the patient is dying and needs immediate resuscitation). Not listed among the official codes is the Slow Code, meaning the patient is dying, and not to worry too much about it.

When Its Used: Sometimes, a very ill, very elderly, or very hopeless patient wants the doctors to do everything they can to keep them alive. And sometimes, doctors dont want to do that: its too much work, the patient will die anyway, or the person just isnt worth preserving.

When Its Used: Doctors seem to be inventing more and more of these unflattering terms as obesity becomes more chronic in the western world. You may also hear Polydipose Dysfunction, BW (beached whale) and others, all of which are sure to see plenty of usage until some enlightened future when a doctor can just say the phrase "lard ass" to a patients face.

Here are some other, rather self-explanatory terms you probably dont want to hear in the halls outside your hospital room:

Circling The Drain. Just picture the world of the living as a bath tub.

If you enjoy thinking your doctors are horrible people and want to think it more, this site has an enormous list of these terms that pretty much redefine cynicism.