ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

sayings used by medical people

Updated on April 30, 2012

This is a quick down and dirty definition of sayings and medical terms used in the everyday lives of medical staff in the USA. It is by no means definitive.. and continues to grow. But it should be noted that a strange humor is invoked with these sayings.... and so, I wish to share them with you so that the next time you hear these things.... maybe it will bring a smile to your face.

"All bleeding stops eventually."

That is a true statement if there ever was one. Just think about it, the next time you cut your finger.

"Oral surgery is true preventative dentistry...........Once that tooth is out, it will never bother you again."

Another true statement.

"Tooth to tattoo ratio.' Meaning the more the tattoes, the less teeth one has.....

"Nurses have a great job. They starve you when you go to surgery. They steal your underwear when you go to surgery. They get to stick you with an IV, and while doing so they get to hit you to pop your viens up. It gives a whole new meaning to service with a smile."

"Mountain Dew is a dentist's best friend."

"Acute abdomen." This doesn't mean that your belly is cute. it means that there is a major problem involved.

"If a pt with appendicitis says to you my side no longer hurts." It is now the epitome of an acute abdomen, because the appendix has ruptured.

"Code blue." The patient's heart has stopped or is in respiratory distress, which means CPR is involved.

"Code brown." Patient has lost control of his bowels and needs cleaned up.

"Code yellow." The same as above only with urine.

"Code green." The same as above only with vomit.

"black tarry stools." The patient has a gastrointestinal bleed, probably high up.

"Red raspberry stools." The patient has a lower gastrointestinal bleed.

"Hemmorrhoids." A patient's nightmare and a general surgeon's dream.... easy surgery and easy money.

"Bright red emesis." This is an indicator of an upper gastrointestinal bleed. Really bad news, and can cause major problems, including death if it cannot be stopped.

"Anesthesia rules the roost." It is anesthesia that controls the way a surgery goes... It he says stop, the surgeon has to. If he will not clear a patient for surgery, the patient does not go to the OR.

"Medicine doctors are thinkers. Surgeons are doers." Call a medicine doctor with a high blood pressure, nine times out of ten he will say, take it again in an hour. Translation: I will read the patient's medical history and then think about which pill to give. Call a surgeon? Give him apresaline now. Neither is right or wrong... persay... The patient could stroke while waiting on the medicine doctor to make up his mind... or the patient could bottom his pressure severely from giving the apresaline order from the surgeon.

"Right sided abdominal pain in a female patient." If a medical doctor sees this patient in the er, it could be diagnosed as constipation. If a surgeon sees her, it could be diagnosed as appendicitis. If a GYN doctor sees her, it could be an ovarian cyst..... Remember MDs tend to focus on their specialty.

"Doctors tend to decrease the amount of blood loss by half when seeing it. Nurses tend to increase the amount of blood loss by half when seeing it." Blood loss is important. The term oozing comes into play. Nurse overreact because their scope cannot really stop bleeding. MDs tend to back off because then they might have to do something.

"Strict intake and outputs." Not so easily done... especially if the patient is incontinent. Folks that cannot hold their urine to use a bedpan or urinal, really cannot be on this kind of regimen. MDs get upset with nurses when they see 7 bed changes. Oh, well.

"Chest pain." One would think that is pretty descriptive. Heartburn can exhibit heart attack like symptoms. Cardiac pain can be very confusing in description especially in women. Many a dentist has diagnosed a heart attack when people come in with a neck/jaw pain.

"I went to the orthopedic surgeon for my right shoulder pain, only to be told it was my gall bladder." This is a a common mistake related to the fact that gall bladder pain can radiate up into the shoulder.

Now for some personality traits to each specialty... these are generalizations, not meant to offend anyone, but are witnessed by nurses and doctors alike.

"Orthopedic surgeons are frustrated carpenters."

"Neurosurgeons think they are gods, Cardiologists know they are gods."

"PACU nurses... or recovery room nurses do not really like to talk with patients and get to know them, their interaction is timed to an hour per patient and they focus on getting the patient out within that hour.

"OR nurses. Love instruments, and the control of technique in the OR. They do not need to get close to their patients either since they know the interaction with them will be less than an hour. They are into precision and counting... ie, needle counts, instrument counts, and sponge counts. Leaving something inside a patient during surgery is a very real possiblitlity."

"Surgical floor nurses... task oriented. Love tubes, and drains, and getting patients out of bed and moving. Goals? Prevent Pneumonia, prevent infection, and prevent muscle weakness and bed sores from lying in bed too long."

"Medical floor nurses... Cerebral like their MD counterparts... If I give this pill, it will affect the kidneys... etc... etc... Thinkers, slow movers, simply because of the beast that they have to fight."

"Psych nurses... Caring for the most part, but very cynical by nature. Learn quickly how to try to diffuse the situation or take down a violent patient. They tend to live in a paranoid world because the patient can turn on them any minute."

"Unit nurses tend to be owners of one or two patients. They concetrate on their two trees in the forest of their unit. They are about precision. When a patient gets extubated and off the vent, and starts talking, it is time to move them out of the unit."

"Pediatric nurses... must love children and be intuitive more so than any other nurse since children cannot convey verbally sometimes when something is wrong. They live in the tiny world of kids, minute doses of medicine, calculations that have to be exact due to the fact the child could die if not given right."

"OB nurses... live in a constant state of awareness. If the delivery goes well, all is good, but they are there to wait to see if the shoe is about to drop. Emergency C sections, baby demise, premature labor they are trying to stop with medicines.... it can be the most rewarding and the most devastating of all nursing.... And they have two patients to consider at all times, mom and the baby.... then add into the mix dysfunctional families and it is a very tough area to work."

"Neonatal nurses... The nurses that take care of the two pounders... and sometimes less. There is nothing so heart breaking as seeing a premmie try to breath... of watching the little one die in front of you. When they survive it brings joy and meaning, but a fifty fifty chance is the rule... Medicine doses have to be checked and confirmed due to the minuscule amounts used. Hope springs eternal are their by line, as they deal with parents who are equally as devastated and have poor coping skills, especially amongst the teen parents or the ones who are IVDAs."

Our nursing schools are churning out nurses left and right now due to the economy. The nursing shortage really does not exist. The schools only accept those who are 4.0 grade point averages and pass many stringent steps to get into a program. I wonder about that sometimes... Nurses that can pass tests and do well in school do not always do well in the reality of what being a nurse is. Ah well, as the economy rebounds, these folk will move on if all they see is it being just a job. It isn't. It is a calling and a profession. It is taking care of people's needs and wants and hopefully at the end of a shift, everyone has the following... A blood pressure, a pulse, and have peed. That means it was a good shift.

Below are some videos for your enjoyment. I do not own any of this nor do i get any compensation on what I write on here. The above are my own thoughts, which you may agree or disagree.... I have only been a nurse for twenty nine years. take care and please leave comments... thank you.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Hi Kitty: Whoo want a hub with it all in black, red and yellow. I’m not a nurse but you sure got me thinking about it!!! Gee’s being able to belt someone and then stick it to them …….with immunity!!!! The read was stimulating as it got me thinking about all my body parts, plain pain with no, not much gain. You will leave me with a Patient attitude that is long suffering, and its all your doing!!! May the brown stain be with you and you yellow turn white!!! Love your work and words.

    • meow48 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from usa

      thankyou again, MsDora. take care.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      8 years ago from The Caribbean

      Voted funny and interesting! Thanks for sharing this information.

    • meow48 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from usa

      thank you for your comment. i bet you could write a book in relation to your husband's care. i appreciate you stopping by for the read. take care.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 

      9 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Intersting, and amusing, in a black-humor sort of way. These folks, for the most part, have their hearts in the right place and mean well. It's just as you say...they have become sucked up into the big corporate machines that are today's hospitals and medical centers, and are truly battling to provide quality care.

      My husband has had a few too many stints as a patient, so I've seen quite a bit, being there at his side the whole time.

      My hat is off to most of them...(we've run into a few that are surely in the wrong profession!)...I could never do what they do.

    • Zeyliah profile image


      9 years ago from The World That Never Existed

      hey mom thought it was funny, keep up with the dr humor jokes

    • meow48 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from usa

      thanks. take care.

    • profile image

      Aka Professor M 

      9 years ago

      @Meow48: Well I'm glad you understood mine as I realized it could have been misconstrued, if one didn't appreciated

      the sardonic flavor of the comedy I implied, in its use, Jean!

      Wow I need to really start spell checking my comments LOL!

      Appears I added an extra "w" to the word "Quite". Well so much for "Professor M," for that I give myself an "F", Jean!

      See I make mistakes Too!

      Regards Mike( Aka Professor M!) ;D

    • meow48 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from usa

      glad you enjoyed this, medical people do have a sick sense of humor. i remember a surgeon asking me why i transferred to med surg, he continued to say it must be because i miss wiping buts. i told him, yes, i thought i should practice because some day i might be wiping yours, hee

    • profile image

      Aka Professor M 

      9 years ago

      @Meow48: This was definitely not for the squeamish or those suffering from hypocondria, Jean! Isn't It is bad enough that they have all those internet sites to feed their frenzy with the medical verbiage? Now here you've gone and let them look inside Pandora's Box and .... Oh well,too late now!!

      Actually this was quitew well done and for some an eye opener I'm sure! The videos were a little bizarre given the characters with their astonishingly dead pan medical idioms, gargon and dark inside medical humor!

      Nice to see that you can joke about it as well, Jean!

      Voted this up and pushed all the buttons that applied in the process!

      Regards Mike (Aka Professor M!) ;D

    • meow48 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from usa

      allana, thank you for your comment. i know this is one sided, and sometimes, i have to believe our patients survive in spite of us. but the strange part is most nurses and most doctors come into the profession with the desire to help... then it just kinda gets translation.

    • Allana Calhoun profile image

      Allana Calhoun 

      9 years ago from Chicago, Illinois

      Some great insight to the medical professions here! Thanks for sharing. I think expectations differ greatly from patient to doctor to nurse. Perception also changes expectations, and perceptions are affected by the specific things we encounter. It helps us as patients, to understand what the medical professionals perceive.

    • meow48 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from usa

      seeker7 and carolp, thank you for your kind comments. it was fun to write this, although i was not sure how it would be taken by the general public... there is an old joke of a nurse who died and went to hell, she was there two weeks before she realized she wasn't at work... hee, take care and thankyou for your time to read this. hope you liked the videos too. just got home from a night shift, so if this doesn't make sense, i know you two would understand, ttyl.

    • carolp profile image


      9 years ago from Switzerland

      I enjoy reading your hub. These statements are daily routines of a nurse. Nurses have great responsibilities as direct care takers and be aware of risks syptoms and preventions communicating to the doctors for immediate recommendations. Thanks for sharing.

    • Seeker7 profile image

      Helen Murphy Howell 

      9 years ago from Fife, Scotland

      Wow!! What an excellent hub! Being a nurse I can really appreciate the effort and the black humour - wonderful!

      My Mum was also a nurse and I remember her telling me that if 'an appendix' walked into the ward this meant big trouble - as you rightly say since this means the appendix has ruptured, very nasty indeed.

      I loved "orthopeadic surgeons are frustrated carpenters". During my training there was a consultant called Mr Dean. But he was known on the quiet as Daddy Dean. Basically when he 'performed' in theatre it was a pantomine literally. Especially when doing the hip replacements - there would be bits of bone getting chucked everywhere and as the student nurse you had the wonderful job of getting to pick them all up along with copious amounts of bloodied swabs.

      This hub was a real treat to read!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)