March 11, 1996 12:00 PM


BAD ENOUGH THAT THEY SCRIBBLE prescriptions in some kind of hyperscrawl, emergency room docs now seem to speak in tongues as well. The problem might not be that you are a “gork”—that is, a patient with mental impairment due to brain injury. Real-life ER slang is so arcane that Dr. Mark Brown, a Dartmouth-trained emergency room physician practicing in Northern California, added a glossary to his new Emergency!—True Stories from the Nation’s ERs (Villard, $21). Here is a guide that even those with very high ”feather counts” (measure of flakiness) should get.

•BLADE: Nickname for a surgeon

•BUG JUICE: Intravenous antibiotics

•TRAIN WRECK: A patient with severe, complicated disease or injury

•POP DROP: When families drop their elderly dad at the hospital so they can take a vacation

•ROCKS: Patients not sick enough to admit to the hospital but whom the family refuses to take home

•CTD: Circling the Drain. Very sick and failing fast

•GOOMBAH: A worrisome mass or tumor found on an X ray or exam

•CROCK: Malingering patient with bogus complaints

•FTD Fixin’to Die

•BOXED: Put in a pine box (i.e., died)

•STAT: At once, immediately

•GOMER:A debilitated patient as in, Get Out of My Emergency Room

•NEGATIVE WALLET BIOPSY: Patient lacking both insurance and cash

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