Student Nurse Laura

Orem – "creative effort of one human being to help another human being."

ED Slang

Posted by Laura on June 15, 2010

I found this list of ED (Emergency Department) abbreviations and slang words – thought it would help me! (

ABG: Arterial blood gases. A test where blood is drawn and measured for oxygen content. The ABG tells the physician whether or not the patient is getting enough oxygen into the bloodstream. An ABG is frequently used for cases of asthma, COPD, or chest trauma.ACUTE MI: Acute monetary insufficiency.
ADENOSINE: A drug used to treat certain heart arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats) by helping to stabilize heart rhythm. (see IV push)
ANGIOPLASTY: A surgical procedure in which a small catheter with a balloon tip is threaded into the coronary artery. The balloon is then blown up to re-expand the clotted artery. (Example: “Do you want to inject TPA or find a cardiologist for angioplasty?”)
ATROPINE: A drug used to speed up the heart rate. (Example: “Heart rate’s still low. Give him another milligram of atropine.”)
BABY DOLL: Vaginal bleeder.
BAG ‘EM: Put someone on a respirator.
BANANA BAGS: IV fluid with vitamins, thiamine, and dextrose that is given to chronic alcoholics, which looks yellow from the vitamins.
BAT: B A T – blunt abdominal trauma.
BITE: A surgical stitch. “Take a bigger bite” means make the stitch longer.
BLACK CLOUD: Bad luck that a medical student or resident brings with him or her. (Example: “You’ve got a black cloud on this service-we had fifteen admissions last night!”)
BLEED THEM: Draw blood. (Example: “Bleed him tonight and check his PT and PTT.”)
BLOOD CULTURE: A test where blood is drawn and cultured for bacteria. It is usually ordered when someone has a high fever, particularly a young child, to identify the organism causing the disease and treat it with the proper antibiotic.
BLOOD GASES: A test that determines the oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the blood, as well as the pH. (Example: “Nothing’s right with this guy. His blood gases stink.”)
BLOWN: Dilated (pupil).
BLUE BLOATER: Someone with COPD; particularly someone with chronic bronchitis who has trouble inhaling.
BOUNCE BACK: Someone who was discharged who’s readmitted.
BUFF ‘EM UP: To hydrate a patient and stabilize his or her electrolytes.
CAMPERS: Kids with diseases for which there are special summer camps (cancer, diabetes).
CARDIAC ENZYMES: A damaged heart muscle releases enzymes over a period of time and, by drawing cardiac enzymes, it is possible to confirm that a heart attack has taken place. (see coag panel)
CATH LAB: Short for catheterization laboratory, where a cardiologist performs angioplasty.
CBC: Complete blood count.
CC: Chief complaint. (Example: “CC’s a lingering cough and a runny nose.”)
CHEECH: Give someone a patient with a bad problem. (Example: “The resident really cheeked me with that bleeder.”)
CHEM 7: A blood test that measures the basic electrolytes in blood: sodium, chloride, potassium, carbon dioxide, blood urea nitrogen (BUN), creatinine, and glucose. A chem 7 is useful in the assessment of many diseases, as derangement of these elements can be fatal. (see coag panel)
CHEST: Short for chest x ray, typically done when the doctor suspects pneumonia or to rule out pneumonia.
CHF: Congestive heart failure.
CIRCLING THE DRAIN: A patient who has taken a turn for the worse. (Example: “Better get some fluids in him, he’s circling.”)
CITY TAXI: Abusers of paramedics and the free ride to the hospital.
CLDS: Controlled life-style doctors; doctors, like ER docs, who do not give continuity of care.
COAG PANEL: An assessment of how well the blood is coagulating. (Example: “Let’s get a chem 7, cardiac enzymes, and coag panel.”)
CODE BROWN: A bed full of excrement.
CRASH AND BURN: A patient who is getting worse and needs to go to the ICU. (Example: “She’s about to crash and burn.”)
CRISPY CRITTER: A person burned to death.
COPD: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
CRIT (hematocrit): A test to measure the number of red blood cells in the blood-the level of which typically decreases when a person has been bleeding or has anemia. (see platelets)
CRUMP: Go downhill, die. (Example: “The patient with the MI crumped last night.”)
CYA MEDICINE: Cover-your-ass medicine (do extra tests and document everything), especially with a litigious patient.
CYSTIC: A kid with cystic fibrosis.
D & DS: Death and doughnuts; another term for the M&M conferences because you always talk about patients who died and are served doughnuts.
DEAD SHOVEL: Guy who has a heart attach while shoveling snow.
DFO’d: Fainted, done fell out.
DIAPHORESIS: Sweaty skin associated with an MI. (Example: “Classic heart attack symptoms. Sudden onset, crushing substernal chest pain radiating down left arm with diaphoresis.”)
DINK: Fail to keep an appointment. Dink stands for DNK-Did Not Keep.
DONOR CYCLES: Motorcycles (accident victims make good organ donors).
DOPAMINE: A drug that makes the heart pump more strongly.
DOWN: Cardiac arrest (down time).
DROP A TUBE: To put, for instance, a tube down someone’s nose and esophagus into their stomach.
DUMP: A bad, hard-to-dispose-of patient sent by another doctor.
EMT: Emergency Medical Technician. (Example: “Seventy-nine-year-old male, probable heart attack. EMTs are two minutes away.”)
ETU: Eternal care unit (morgue).
FACINOMA: A fascinating ER story.
FERTILE MYRTLE: A woman who gets pregnant repeatedly.
FLAPPER: Skin pulled off.
FLK: A funny-looking kid; a kid who comes in who doesn’t look quite right.
FOS: In need of an enema, seen on X ray.
GET BURNED: Make a mistake. (Example: “I really got burned when I sent home that guy with chest pain and he died.”)
GGF: A workup on an old lady with a fever (granny’s got a fever).
GLORY ER: Exciting ER cases.
GO DOWN THE TUBES: Get sicker.
GOK: God only knows.
GOMER: GOMER, get out of my emergency room – a patient you dread having.
GOOBER: Tumor- for example, on a chest X ray.
GORK: A patient on the way out; a hopeless case; brain dead.
GSW: Gunshot wound.
HBD: Had been drinking.
HIT: An admission. (Example: “How many hits did you get?”)
HIT HARD: To get a lot of difficult patients in one shift.
HURT ME AGAIN: To get another train wreck after just working up one.
HYPERRESONANT: When percussing (thumping) a patient’s back and listening for breath sounds, the doctor will hear huperresonant, or increased, vibrations that are indicative of a pneumothorax. (see tension pneumo)
HYPERTENSION: High blood pressure.
HYPOTENSION: Low blood pressure.
INCOMING SCUD: A train wreck coming by ambulance to the Hospital
INTUBATION TRAY: A tray that contains various instruments used to intubate a patient who is not breathing: a laryngoscope, which is an instrument for opening the larynx; and an endotracheal tube, which is inserted into the trachea through the mouth to facilitate breathing. A bag is attached outside the mouth so that breathing can be done mechanically for the patient-in a procedure referred to as “bagging.”
IV PUSH: When a drug is put directly into the IV all at once. (Example: “He’s relatively stable; let’s try adenosine, six milligrams IV push.”).
KNIFE AND GUN CLUB: An inner-city hospital that gets a lot of knife and gun wounds.
LARRY PARKER SYNDROME: Someone who comes in after an accident complaining of pain, but who is really looking for an insurance settlement.
LARGE-BORE IV: An IV with a large needle used to transfuse fluids-either saline or blood-very quickly, particularly in trauma cases, where the patient may have lost a lot of blood. (see normal saline)
LAVAGE: Washing out. A gastric lavage, for example, involves removing the bad drugs from an overdose by washing out the stomach, giving charcoal afterward, and managing the adverse side effects. A peritoneal lavage is a test for abdominal bleeding wherein blood is washed out of the abdominal cavity.
LET’S GET OUT OF DODGE: Let’s finish the case.
LGFD: Looks good from doorway. A patient who complains but looks fine.
LIVER ROUNDS: Friday afternoon social event for residents, attendings, and medical students where alcoholic beverages are served.
LOC: Level of consciousness (Example: “She has an altered LOC from head trauma.”)
LOL: Little old lady.
M&Ms: Morbidity and mortality conferences where the ER doctors, residents, med students, pathologists, and other applicable specialists gather to discuss past cases in which there was error or the patient did not do as well as expected. Usually held once a week in the early morning; residents have to present the cases and are fair game for the audience of Monday morning quarterbacks.
MEMBERS: The abbreviation for mental retardation with cerebral palsy is MRCP, which also stands for Member of the Royal College of Physicians.
MI: Myocardial infarction (heart attack). (see ST wave)
MUDPILES: Mnemonic device for anion gap: M(ethonol), U(remia), D(iabetic ketaocidosis), P(araldehyde), I(ron), L(actic acidosis), E(thanol), S(alicylate starvation).
MVA: Motor vehicle accident.
NO CODE OR DNR (do not resuscitate): No heroic measures.
NORMAL SALINE: Saline solution that has the same balance as the fluids in the body. Saline is administered when the patient requires fluids due to dehydration or when nothing may be taken by mouth because of the possibility of impending surgery. (Example: “He’s in shock. Start two large -bore Ivs, normal saline, wide open”)
OLD TROUT: A patient who is old, but quick-witted.
O SIGN: Mouth gaping open when unconscious.
PERF: Perforate; to burst. (Example: “He had a perfed appendiz”-appendicitis.)
PID SHUFFLE: The walk of an obvious pelvic inflammatory diseased patient. The patient is young, female, holding abdomen, wide stance, hunched over, with a pronounced shuffle.
PINK PUFFER: Someone with emphysema who has difficulty exhaling.
PIT HER: Give a pregnant woman pitocin to induce labor.
PLATELETS: The factors in the blood that cause clotting. (Example: “Mrs. Packer’s crit is sixteen. Her white counts down to fifteen hundred, platelets are sixty thousand. She needs a transfusion.”)
PNEUMOTHORAX: Collapsed lung.
PREEMIE: A premature infant.
PRONOUNCE: Pronounce dead.
Q SIGN: O sign plus tongue hanging out.
ROAD RASH: Abrasions from a fall onto concrete.
SCOOP AND RUN: Grab you and go as fast as they can.
SCUT WORK: Busy work-drawing blood, filling out lab slips, etc.
SEIZURE: A kid with epilepsy.
SENT FOR LABS: Draw blood, fill out the slip, and send the specimens out.
SEND HIM REDLINE: Send him directly and urgently.
SICKLER: A kid with sickle-cell anemia.
SINUS RHYTHM: Normal heartbeat. (Example: “He went into sinus rhythm as the EMTs pulled up.”)
SLAMMED: Variant of “hit hard”, only worse.
SOLDIERS: Kids with chronic GI (gastrointestinal) diseases, like Crohn’s disease.
SPARK ‘EM: Defibrillate a patient.
ST WAVE: On a heart monitor, one heartbeat is reflected as a PQRST wave. A segment of that wave is the ST. (Example: “His ST wave is way up. Acute MI. We are in trouble”)
STAT: Hurry up.
STOOL MAGNET: A resident who always seems to get very sick, complicated patients.
TANK ‘EM UP: To give a patient who is dehydrated a lot of fluid.
TENSION PNEUMO: Short for tension pneumothorax. It is a collapsed lung where air escapes into the chest every time the patient breathes, as if through a one-way valve. A tension pneumo can cause pressure on the heart and is a serious emergency. (Example: “No breath sounds, hyperresonant on the left side. He’s got a tension pneumo.”)
THROAT SWAB: A throat swab is the same as a throat culture and is used to test for Streptococcus.
TORTURE ME: A variant of “Hurt me again.”
TOX SCREEN/RUDS: Blood tests to determine what drugs a person took. RUDS is short for Random Urine Drug Screen .
TPA: A powerful drug used to dissolve a blood clot in the coronary artery that is causing a heart attach. (see angioplasty)
TRAIN WRECK: A patient with multiple problems. (Example: “You wouldn’t believe the train wreck I got-CHF, renal failure, and COPD.”)
TREAT AND STREET: (Self-explanatory).
TURF: Send the patient to another service, such as transferring a patient on the medicine service to surgery. (Example: “I turfed her to surgery.”)
UNDERDOSING: An overdose that doesn’t kill the patient. V-TACH: When the heart is beating at an abnormally high rate. (Example: “If this rhythm is v-tach, we need to shock him.”)
VITAMIN H: Haldol, a very powerful sedating agent for combative people.
WADAO: Weak and dizzy all over.
WALKING TIME BOMB: Someone with a disease that could be fatal at any moment, like an aortic aneurysm.
WHEEZER: An asthmatic .
WHITE COUNT: A test to measure the number of white blood cells in the blood. The white cells are the blood cells that fight infection, and an increased count usually indicates the presence of an infection. (see platelets)
WNL: Within normal limits; however, residents joke it means “we never looked.” (Example: On a physical exam an ER doctor writes “abdominal WNL” and the resident says, “Abdomen, we never looked.”)

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