Decoding 28 Medical Slang Terms

By: the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.

Doctors, nurses, and other health-care professionals need to communicate with each other quickly and effectively. They also have a sense of humor, as you'll notice in the following list of slang terms used in hospitals.

  1. Appy: a person's appendix or a patient with appendicitis
  2. Baby Catcher: an obstetrician
  3. Bagging: manually helping a patient breathe using a squeeze bag attached to a mask that covers the face
  4. Banana: a person with jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
  5. Blood Suckers/Leeches: those who take blood samples, such as laboratory technicians
  6. Bounceback: a patient who returns to the emergency department with the same complaints shortly after being released
  7. Bury the Hatchet: accidentally leaving a surgical instrument inside a patient
  8. CBC: complete blood count; an all-purpose blood test used to diagnose different illnesses and conditions
  9. Code Brown: a patient who has lost control of his or her bowels
  10. Code Yellow: a patient who has lost control of his or her bladder
  11. Crook-U: similar to the ICU or PICU, but referring to a prison ward in the hospital
  12. DNR: do not resuscitate; a written request made by terminally ill or elderly patients who do not want extraordinary efforts made if they go into cardiac arrest, a coma, etc.
  13. Doc in a Box: a small health-care center, usually with high staff turnover
  14. FLK: funny-looking kid
  15. Foley: a catheter used to drain the bladder of urine
  16. Freud Squad: the psychiatry department
  17. Gas Passer: an anesthesiologist
  18. GSW: gunshot wound
  19. MI: myocardial infarction; a heart attack
  20. M & Ms: mortality and morbidity conferences where doctors and other health-care professionals discuss mistakes and patient deaths
  21. MVA: motor vehicle accident
  22. O Sign: an unconscious patient whose mouth is open
  23. Q Sign: an unconscious patient whose mouth is open and tongue is hanging out
  24. Rear Admiral: a proctologist
  25. Shotgunning: ordering a wide variety of tests in the hope that one will show what's wrong with a patient
  26. Stat: from the Latin statinum, meaning immediately
  27. Tox Screen: testing the blood for the level and type of drugs in a patient's system
  28. UBI: unexplained beer injury; a patient who appears in the ER with an injury sustained while intoxicated that he or she can't explain

For more intriguing lists, check out:



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