Linguaphiles welcome


Every year, linguaphiles salivate over the release of the release of the latest edition of Webster’s Dictionary and the new words that made the cut.  I proffer these new phrases for  your consideration:

History alternans– the change in a patient’s history between triage and the time the attending sees the patient.  A common variant is found at academic centers where a team consisting of medical students and residents are interpolated between triage and attending, called history alternans mulitforme.

Narcotics inflation– the escalating narcotics requirements for common pain complaints.  Where once hydromorphone was reserved for terminal cancer patients, it is desperately needed for ankle sprains and nausea.

Dead celebrity effect- the surge in patient volume when a celebrity suffers from some severe or deadly process.  A related process is the Hystericus reportercillium in which whatever illness is in the news is immediately contracted by one third of your patient population (e.g., Swine Flu), even those without any symptoms.

Tooth to tattoo ratio– the ratio of teeth to tattoos, which has an inverse correlation to the risk for trauma.  If tattoos=0, then the ratio is undefined and may not be used to estimate trauma risk.

Politicus apoplexy– the overwhelming frustration that overcomes both participants when discussing health care policy with someone who holds the contrary position.  Because they are clearly wrong.  Whatever their positions.

Pucker effect- an involuntary visceral twisting sensation you get upon arrival at work and your collegue says, “Hey, do you remember that patient you had last night?”

Five-second pain delay- five seconds after you leave a patient’s room, the nurse approaches you for pain medicine for the patient who just assured you that he was feeling much better and ready to go home.


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  1. #1 by VeronicaB - April 21st, 2010 at 20:05

    “Dead Presidents Coefficient” which relates the number of stab or gunshot wounds a patient sustains to the amount of “pocket change” a patient will be carrying upon arrival to the trauma room

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