Doctor slang is a dying art
Is doctor slang on the wane?
So says a doctor who has spent four years charting more than 200 colourful examples.
Medicine is a profession already overflowing with acronyms and technical terms, and doctors over the years have invented plenty of their own.
However, Dr Adam Fox, who works at St Mary's Hospital in London as a specialist registrar in its child allergy unit, says that far fewer doctors now annotate notes with abbreviations designed to spell out the unsayable truth about their patients.
TOP MEDICAL ABBREVIATIONS
CTD - Circling the Drain (A patient expected to die soon)
GLM - Good looking Mum
GPO - Good for Parts Only
TEETH - Tried Everything Else, Try Homeopathy
UBI - Unexplained Beer Injury
Dr Fox recounts the tale of one doctor who had scribbled TTFO - an expletive expression roughly translated as "Told To Go Away" - on a patient's notes.
He told BBC News Online: "This guy was asked by the judge what the acronym meant, and luckily for him he had the presence of mind to say: 'To take fluids orally'."
Quaint up North
Regional dialects abound, even in the world of the medical abbreviation.
In the north of England, the TTR (Tea Time Review) of a patient is commonplace, but not in the south.
And the number of terms for patients believed to be somewhat intellectually challenged is enormous.
"I can't believe what he just called me..."
Regular visitors to A&E on a Friday or Saturday night are also classified.
DBI refers to "Dirt Bag Index", and multiplies the number of tattoos with the number of missing teeth to give an estimate of the number of days since the patient last bathed.
A PFO refers to a drunken patient who sustained injury falling over, while a PGT "Got Thumped" instead.
MEDICAL TERMS - A GLOSSARY
Digging for Worms - varicose vein surgery
Departure lounge - geriatric ward
Handbag positive - confused patient (usually elderly lady) lying on hospital bed clutching handbag
Woolworth's Test - Anaesthetic term (if you can imagine patient shopping in Woolies, it's safe to give a general anaesthetic)
And much of the slang is directed at colleagues rather than patients.
Thus rheumatology, considered by hard-pressed juniors one of the less busy specialties, becomes "rheumaholiday", the "Freud Squad" are psychiatrists, and "Gassers" and "Slashers" are anaesthetists and general surgeons respectively.
Dr Fox is keen to point out that neither he, nor the other authors of the paper, published in the journal Ethics and Behavior, actually advocate using any of the terms.
He said: "It's a form of communication, and it needs to be recorded.
"It may not be around forever."
He said: "I do think that doctors are genuinely more respectful of their patients these days."If that is the case, perhaps the delights of a "Whopper with Cheese", "Handbag positive" or "Coffin dodger" could be lost forever.