Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Medical slang

There’s far too many terms to list here, but here’s just some of the medical slang used by doctors, nurses, paramedics and other Hospital and Medical staff, rounded up by British physician Dr Adam Fox of St Mary's Hospital, London.   Head here for the full list: Medical Slang. [Hat tip David Slack]

Descriptions of symptoms
GOK - "God only knows"; i.e., a confession of ignorance
P(A)FO - "pissed, (and) fell over"
UBI - "unexplained beer injury"
SPAK - "status post ass-kicking"
FOL,GOL,FOS - Fat Old Lady, Gone off Legs, Full Of Shit; Old terms which when used together describe a confused elderly lady unable to exercise at home, now unable to move on her own and badly constipated as a result
Other acronyms
ATFO - "asked to fuck off", i.e., instructed to go away.
CTD - "circling the drain" (expected to die soon)
DBI - "dirt bag index" - a number calculated from number of tattoos and missing teeth.
GLM - "good looking mum"
GOMER - "get out of my emergency room"; patient, usually poor or elderly, in the emergency room with a chronic, non-emergency condition
GPO - "good for parts only"
LOBNH - "Lights on but nobody home"; i.e., stupid
NFN - "normal for Norfolk"; not quite normal, possible suggestion of inbreeding as a cause
TEETH - "tried everything else, try homeopathy"
TTFO - "told to fuck off", i.e., instructed to go away. (This acronym can also be plausibly expanded to "to take fluids orally" for the benefit of inquiring authorities.)
TUBE - "totally unnecessary breast exam"
TFTB - "too fat to breathe"
Slang terms
Angel Lust - A death erection.
Code brown - faecal incontinence emergency
Code yellow - urination emergency
Last flea to jump off a dead dog - Oncologists who never seem to be able to let people die with dignity. Departure lounge - geriatric ward
Plumbii Pendulousus - 'swinging the lead' (a malingerer; used on medical certificates known to be used as an excuse in a Court of Law/Magistrates Court, especially when the Magistrate is known by the Doctor).
Pneumo-cephalic - stupid (literally: 'airhead')
Peek and shriek - to open a patient surgically, discover an uncurable condition, and close the incision immediately
Celestial discharge - n. death.
Trauma handshake - n. a digital rectal exam. Every major trauma patient gets one.
Donorcycle - n. a motorcycle.
Wall - n. A physician (usually a resident) adept at preventing admissions to his service. See "dump" below.
Sieve - n. A physician (usually a resident) who is not skilled at dumping; the opposite of a wall.
Buff - v. to be sure all details regarding a patient's care are attended to so that discharge or transfer to another service or facility will proceed smoothly and no excuses or objections can be raised to prevent the discharge or transfer. For example "Be sure to buff the guy in 702 before we send him to the nursing home." It can also mean that you make up lab and other results, even if you haven't done them, to make yourself look good on rounds.
Turf - v. to transfer a patient to another service. For example "The GOMER was healed from his surgery but his diabetes was still uncontrolled, so we turfed him to medicine."
Win the game - v. to discharge all of the patients from your service, so that you have no inpatients to care for. For example "Mike won the game and doesn't have to round this weekend." Also known as a "Yahtzee"

Read them all here: Medical Slang. [Hat tip David Slack]


  1. Don't forget (the very real) "FLK" - funny looking kid, often accompanied by "FLP" - funnly looking parents

  2. A continually growing list of medical slang terms generated from RN's, med students, doctors, techs and anyone keeping up on this esoteric language. Enjoy!


  3. I've also heard that GOMER stands for "grand old man of the emergency room."


1. Commenters are welcome and invited.
2. All comments are moderated. Off-topic grandstanding, spam, and gibberish will be ignored. Tu quoque will be moderated.
3. Read the post before you comment. Challenge facts, but don't simply ignore them.
4. Use a name. If it's important enough to say, it's important enough to put a name to.
5. Above all: Act with honour. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.