Doctors have their own slang terminology and it’s mostly aimed at mocking their patients. Or at least they used to. A lot of doctor slang has sadly disappeared due to patient access to their own medical files and the ease with which they can now search for obscure medical acronyms online. Nonetheless, here are some of our favorite bits of doctor slang, along with some slides from the golden age of doctors not actually knowing anything. Oh, and David Hasselhoff.
Code Brown: A patient who has shit his pants. Generally, the doctor uses this term to call someone lower down on the totem pole to deal with the problem. As they say, shit rolls downhill.
CTD: “Circling the drain” or “certain to die.” A way for doctors to talk about patients who simply aren’t going to make it front of them or their loved ones without tipping their hat. If you ever hear this in relation to you or someone you’re close to, prepare for the end.
DBI: Dirt bag index. Legend has it that this is an actual score based on multiplying the number of tattoos a patient has by the number of missing teeth by the days since they’ve had a bath.
Donorcycle: A motorcycle. So named because it generally kills the rider via head injury, leaving those sweet, sweet organs intact.
GLM: Good looking mom. Doctor slang for “MILF.” The type of thing you say in a maternity ward when there’s a hot little dish ready to pop one out.
GPO: Good for parts only. See also: CTD.
GROLIES: Guardian reader of low intelligence in an ethnic skirt. This is a UK-specific piece of doctor slang to describe a very specific type of patient who comes in with non-specific, stress-related symptoms and thinks they have a medical cure when they don’t.
Hasselhoff: Someone with an impossibly strange injury, like when the Hoff severed four tendons and an artery after banging his head on a chandelier while shaving. Yeah, that happened.
Hollywood Code: Theatrically pretending to resuscitate a patient who is beyond help for the benefit of their loved ones watching on.
SHPOS: Sub-human piece of shit. This isn’t so much a person with a high DBI as it is a someone who is incredibly nasty and hard to deal with. Especially in psychiatric wards, patients can get violent with doctors. Ever wonder why you see armed guards at hospitals? The SHPOS is why.
TTFO: Told to fuck off. What you write when a frequent flier is in for their latest attempt at getting hard drugs or a hypochondriac appears with yet another mystery ailment.
UBI: Unexplained beer injury. Chances are good that if you’re reading this website, you’ve had at least one of these in your life.
Zebra: Interns are big fans of coming up with exotic diagnoses where simple ones make more sense. These diagnoses are called “zebras” from the old adage that if you hear hoof beats behind you, you shouldn’t expect to turn around and see a zebra.