Jargon Jargon

July 26, 2012

I know I posted here about people not saying what they mean in the corporate world but it kind of reminded me of those halcyon days when I was working in hospitals and no one thought that patients would ever see their notes. Using abbreviations starts as a medical student – usually to help you learn various bits of the anatomy off by heart. Funnily enough I can remember the mnemonics as they are known, but not always what they stood for.

Classics are Oh Oh Oh To Touch And Feel A Girl’s Vagina And Hymen for all the cranial nerves. Two Zulus Buggered My Cat for branches of the facial nerve and Lazy French Tarts Sit Naked Inviting Anal Sex was for things that pass through the supraorbital fissure. That was about the level of them. Then there were rhymes like ‘S2,3,4 keeps the anus off the floor’ to help one remember which nerves serve which areas.

‘L1,L2 keeps the bollocks off the shoe’  reminds poor medical students which nerves are responsible for the joyous ripple known as the cremasteric reflex. Stroke a man’s inner thigh and watch carefully. Then stroke the other leg.

Progressing through Medical School gave us a template of how to take a history and do an examination and write up the notes accordingly. It meant we had to memorise the causes of various signs and symptoms, so handy reminders like the Five Fs would help us work out what was making an abdomen swollen – Fat, Fluid, Faeces, Flatus or Fetus……

I would come across letters between doctors which would be blunt in the extreme, and various acronyms in the notes. There are medically accepted acronyms (SOB means short of breath for example) but on the whole they are best avoided as they can be misinterpreted. Anyway, thought I would relate dubious ones that I remember seeing. Obviously never ever used them myself!

LOLOL Little Old Lady Off Legs

NFN -Normal for Norfolk

FLK Funny looking kid

FLK JLD – Funny Looking Kid.  Just Like Dad.

P-FO Pissed, fell over

TTFO – Told to Fuck Off

TTFOIAV – Told to Fuck off, it’s a virus

And the actual letters to and from GPs and the hospitals were so much franker – and possibly libellous – than they are now. With Drs happily writing things like ‘Thank you for asking me to see this tedious 42 year old…. “, or ” Thank you for referring this thoroughly unpleasant individual”, or “I don’t know why you referred this patient as his dick looks as normal as mine does”. Got to say they are fun to look back on, but not what you want a patient to read.

Or notes relating to a person repeatedly admitted for having overdosed;  “Mr Smith is in yet again on the overdose ticket. At first he seemed to be unaware what a loser he is in the overdose stakes. However, on direct questioning he admitted that jumping from a bridge holds out more hope in future.” Unsurprisingly, nowadays no one would dare write something like that. And the exasperation from the Consultant back to the GP after repeated tests have failed to find any abnormality “I am discharging her back to your care, she has made up her mind what is the problem and no amount of truth is going to deter her.”

jumping jack firework

One of the more interesting  discharge letters I had to write was for a man who was admitted through casualty  in absolute agony. Very very unwell as his colon had ruptured so he had peritonitis and needed urgent surgery. How on earth had this happened? He had no previous history of any bowel problems. But it transpired he was at home with his wife and he had a jumping jack fire cracker.  Also known as bangers. These were common fireworks back in the day –  about the size of an iPod shuffle. You lit them and they jumped around and went bang lots of times. The wife apparently said to him ‘I bet you wouldn’t stick that up your arse and light it’. So he bloody did.  And blew apart his insides. Because his wife bet him he wouldn’t. Lifelong colostomy and lucky not to have died. Amazing how incredibly stupid people can be.


9 Responses to “Jargon Jargon”

  1. […] Casualty was as a student, and I blogged here about the Hoover Dustette incident and here about the fireworks. But there were plenty of other stories. It really is a place to see all of life and we did. […]

  2. gitchorama Says:

    Thanks, Sarah–another winner. And a few further additional bits, compliments of my father (a retired orthopod):

    IUs = Iowa Units (50lb increments); so to be able to talk about an obese patient without embarrassing him/her

    HoH = Hard of Hearing (as distinct from SoU)

    SoU = Slow of Understanding (see HoH)

  3. martin sanders Says:

    Yeah well i was pmsl and too clever by half with the comment then forgot to attach my name to it . Fail

  4. Anonymous Says:


  5. michael Says:

    hahahah absolutely brilliant

    “No amount of truth is going to deter her”

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