10 offensive slang terms you might hear in a hospital


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Navigating the healthcare system can be confusing, whether it's getting in with a specialist, dealing with hospital wait times, or finding out which procedures are covered by insurance. Then, of course, there's medical lingo. For most of us, they might as well be speaking Klingon. And that's when they're not speaking in their own secret slang language.

Many doctors and healthcare workers use a mysterious vocabulary all their own, and it's not always gentle or flattering. This secret doctor language was known only to an elite few. Until recently. Dr. Brian Goldman -- the host of CBC Radio's White Coat, Black Art -- has written a new book decoding the secret slang of doctors. It's called The Secret Language of Doctors: Cracking the Code of Hospital Slang. Goldman stopped by Q to discuss the book with Jian Ghomeshi, and you can listen to that conversation in the audio play below.


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We decided to pull out some of the, uh, highlights, for you to get a taste of what Goldman's book is all about. Below find 10 of the most offensive terms used by some doctors to describe patients or processes that we found in The Secret Language of Doctors.


Hollywood Code: This is slang for when doctors pretend to save a patient. "We'll pretend to do a resuscitation in which it looks like we are trying to save him, but we arent."


FOOBA: Is short for "found on orthopedics barely alive." According to Goldman, FOOBA plays on the common slang term FUBAR, which stands for "f--ked up beyond repair" (which, if you didn't know, has origins in the military).


Beemer: If a patient is a "beemer," this means they are morbidly obese.


Box: This is slang for a coffin and is used casually to refer to death. If a doctor asked "How many did you box last night?", he is asking how many patients died on your shift.


FLK: This is short for "funny-looking kid." It is most commonly used when referring to "an infant or child born with the visible facial characteristics of a genetic or congential analomy" like Down syndrome.


Yellow Submarine: This term, which is also the title of a Beatles song, refers to "an obese patient with liver cirrhosis."


FTD: This is short for "failure to die," and is used when referring to elderly patients.


GOMER: This short for "get of of my emergency room." According to Goldman, it "refers to patients who are frequently admitted to a hospital with "complicated but uninspiring and incurable conditions."


Camille: A Camille is "a patient who chronically feels about to die and is very vocal about it." This is named for the heroine in Alexandre Dumas' novel-turned-play La Dame aux camélias in which Camille "dies dramatically in her lover's arms" from tuberculous.


Whiney primey: This refers to a pregnant woman who comes to to the hospital, usually more than once, believing she's in labour, when she isn't.