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I know what the term refers to, but I was wondering where it came from. Is it an acronym (like gomer) or is it just a term? is this an ER thing, or is it universal?

thanks, ivy rose

-- Dani (dani.shortnsweet@chickmail.com), May 20, 2000


I don't know, but I didn't know gomer was an acronym. What's that stand for?

-- Cecelia (evilstoat@hotmail.com), May 20, 2000.

I was going to post something about this too Dani. Is "gork" a medical term or something? The ER folk sure seem to like it a lot!

-- S. Trelles (trelles@ix.netcom.com), May 20, 2000.

i think gork might just be a slang term..... maybe?

-- ALexis Springer (lexicat1@webtv.net), May 20, 2000.

I think both terms are pretty universal in the medical world, although that's not to say that they are nice. I believe 'gork' stands for 'god only really knows', usually referring to someone who is so sick that it's unknown how they are still alive. 'Gomer', I believe, stands for 'get out of my emergency room', and is usually used to refer to certain chronic drug/alcohol abusers, gang members and anyone else who is unappreciative, uncooperative, and unaccepting of medical care, and who despite what you might do for them, will be back in the ER soon regardless.

-- laura (laurab56@hotmail.com), May 20, 2000.

I agree that these terms are not really nice but remember back 2 weeks ago when Carter was treating the kidney patient and Yosh wheeled in the asthma patient and said, "Weaver sent you a wheezer." Now that guy was wide awake and with us on that and if it were me, I would take offense to being called a wheezer.

-- Linda (l.brown@mindspring.com), May 20, 2000.

Me again. I know that wheezer refers to his condition, but still - the staff should not refer to patients using slang in the presence of the patient. In the course of their conversations while working on an overweight pateint who smells bad they wouldn't say something like "stinky fatso" so they should not call asthmatics(sp?) wheezers either.

-- Linda (l.brown@mindspring.com), May 20, 2000.

I got news for you guys - wheezer is a far cry from "stinky fatso". Wheeze is a real medical term, and I someone who is wheezing is thus "a wheezer". Stinky fatso is a subjective putdown.

-- Chava (ChavaW68@aol.com), May 20, 2000.

sorry for replying to my own post, but speaking of borderline offensive er terms, has anyone noticed "LOL". It's used a lot, usually referring to older women...I'm thinking "little old lady"? They throw this term around all the time on the show

-- ivy rose (dani.shortnsweet@chickmail.com), May 20, 2000.

There are tons of abbreviations, slang terms, etc. tossed about in the average ED when referring to patients. Some are derogatory, some are not so. Here are a few of the most common:

"GORK" - acronym, "God Only Really Knows". Somewhat derogatory. The patient has some weird disease or combination of diseases that's causing him/her to be "sick", but you have no idea what those diseases are. "Gork" also refers to a patient with a mental deficit; see Benton's line in "May Day" when he said to Carter, "You wanna wind up like your cousin, a babbling gork in a nursing home?" This usage is derogatory. "Gomer" - acronym, "Get Out Of My Emergency Room". Derogatory usage. Elderly patient, usually senile, fatally ill but hanging on against all odds. Treatment is to make the patient well enough to "turf" him/her back to a nursing home. "LOL" - acronym, "Little Old Lady". Not derogatory, but don't write it in a chart, either. Sometimes you'll also hear "LOL in NAD" - Little Old Lady in No Acute Distress. Just what it sounds like. "CTD" - acronym, "Circling The Drain". Not derogatory, but not chartable (see above). A patient who's obviously dying, either from illness or trauma. "Psychoceramic medicine", "serum porcelain level" - derogatory terms useed to refer to a patient who's malingering. Crocks are made of ceramic - you can draw your own conclusions... "Frequent flyer" - somewhat derogatory. A patient who comes to the ED far too often for his/her own good. These patients are frequently indigent and/or uninsured, frequently homeless, and frequently suffer from various substance addictions on top of poor health. Treatment is "three hots and a cot" - three solid meals and a place to sleep it off. "Treat 'em and street 'em" - a practice for clearing patients out of the ED as quickly as possible. "Wheezer" - somewhat derogatory. Refers to an asthmatic patient, or one with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder. "Crispy critter" - derogatory term for a burn patient. See Kerry's comment "I've got eleven fried old folks" in "The Peace of Wild Things".

There are whole glossaries of definitions to be found on the 'Net, including the one to be found in the FAQ on this site; check the "Medspeak" site for more. Another great print guide to ED lingo can be found in the back of Melvin Konner's book "Becoming A Doctor".

-- Lindsay E. Murphy (murphyl@earthlink.net), April 25, 2001.

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