You must have heard how we use Koch’s Disease for patients with TB (Tuberculosis). There are several other such words used to make patients feel more comfortable or make sure other persons are unaware of the conditions of things.

This is what is known as slang, in our setting medical slang. Slangs are words or abbreviations with similar meanings used in place of the original term. They are mostly used in informal settings.

Medical slangs are commonly used by medical professionals or anyone with some sort of medical training including doctors, nurses, medical technicians, pharmacists, and even medical students. It is the use of analogous terms to describe situations, conditions and people (like patients or even co-workers) in a way that only the class of people with the same knowledge understands. 

Now, let’s take a look at a few with their meanings.

Code Brown: This is used when a patient has lost control of his bowel movement or an unexpected bowel movement has occurred. They usually stain themselves, the bed and its clothing with faecal matter. When you want to ask for help or call for attention for a cleanup. You can use this term.

404 moment: Similar to when you try to look for or open a site and you get a 404 error meaning that the page is not found. Whenever a patient case note is being looked for, primarily on a Ward round, you call it a 404 moment. If you have been regular on rounds, I am certain you would have experienced this scenario before.

Bury the hatchet: You usually ask someone you have offended to bury the hatchet, meaning to forgive and forget us. Please, never ask your surgeon to do so and pray to God it does not happen to you. This is used whenever a surgical instrument is mistakenly left inside a patient after surgery. Not nice I know but it happens.

G. I Rounds: G.I for stomach matters, you cannot do without settling your stomach period!!. This is when you want to take a break to get food either for breakfast, lunch or dinner. You can tell you, colleagues, you want to quickly do your G.I Round.

NAD: It means “Not done”. Every time you don’t clerk a patient or didn’t do an assignment you were given. Once in a while say NAD instead of trying to cook.

Banana: When a banana ripens, its colour becomes yellow. When you see yellow discolouration of the eyes or sometimes on the body surfaces, you say the patient is jaundiced or banana.


Certain Specialties have been named according to what they do and how they do it.

Specializations and Names

Freud Squad: Ever heard of Sigmund Freud, known as the father of Psychiatry. The Freud squad are psychiatrists, so next time you could say the Freud Squad without others knowing the meaning. You know, there is still a bit of discomfort associated with saying someone is seeing a psychiatrist. 

Baby Catcher: If you have done your Obstetrics and Gynaecology posting in the University College Hospital you would have heard this. Either you are told to go to “Adeoyo or Labour Ward ” and catch babies. You need the signature you know. Obstetricians and gynaecologists are called Baby catchers.

Blood Suckers/ Vampires/ Leeches: Everyone who takes blood samples can be regarded as this. To take blood from another person you have to use a sharp object and suck the blood. If I may ask is that not what vampires and leeches do…… smiles

Gas Passer: Anaesthesiologist is a person who is skilled at medically inducing a patient to sleep, to feel no pain and relax the muscles usually by passing gas into the patient.

Slasher: It is said that historically surgeons were originally butchers who were trained and refined in the art of medicine. Practically, most of all they do are cut, slash, and delicately re-attach human tissue.

Stream Team: Urologists, also known as plumbers. Acute urinary retention is an emergency, a patient with this is in great pain and needs to be relieved as soon as possible. You need to call the Stream Team to reestablish the urinary flow. A urologist deals with everything concerning the urinary system.


These are some medical slangs that are commonly used in the medical setting.  It is helpful to know these slangs so that whenever you hear any of them, you can stylishly relate to or respond. 

Hopefully, when next you want to say something to a fellow UIMSAITE or medical personnel, especially someone who has read this article, you can communicate with any of the above. 

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Metajuwa-Kuda Emmanuel