ICD 10: revenge of the weird and obscure

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John O'Connor
John O'Connor

It was just about a month ago that providers transitioned to the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision – ICD-10. While the early reviews have been decidedly mixed, one thing is for sure: weird and obscure was never like this.

Perhaps it was inevitable that a jump from 13,000 to 68,000 codes would result in a few amazingly granular descriptions. But who could have foreseen such an invasion of the wacky and bizarre?

Here's a collection of some of the more, er, interesting codes that have been revealed. The quoted items in red are verbatim: my comments follow in italics.

“Swimming-pool of prison as the place of occurrence of the external cause”

No matter how many times you tell them to walk, there's always that one unsupervised inmate who has to learn the hard way.

“Activity, knitting and crocheting”

Apparently those knitting needles can give careless users quite a poke.

“Bitten by macaw, initial encounter”

Don't let these colorful members of the parrot world lull you into a false sense of security, especially at your first meeting. They don't just talk a good fight.

“Opera house as the place of occurrence of the external cause”

Now it can be told: Pagliacci was crying because the Fat Lady stepped on his foot.

“Bitten by pig, initial encounter”

Note to self: Do not invite pigs or macaws to next social event. Both turn into real troublemakers after a couple of drinks.

“Problems in relationship with in-laws”

Hmm, let's just move on to waterfowl …

“Struck by duck, subsequent encounter”

What is the deal with these ill-tempered animals? Is it safe to say some of our quacking friends appear to be mallard-justed?

“Burn due to water-skis on fire, subsequent encounter”

James Taylor may have seen fire and rain. But I bet he never saw water skis used as a branding iron, twice.

“Bizarre personal appearance”

Congratulations Walmart shoppers, many of you can now claim your own personal ICD-10 code.

“Sucked into jet engine, subsequent encounter”

Suck me into your jet engine once, shame on you. Suck me in a second time, shame on me.

As the saying goes, you can't make this stuff up. Yet here we are. Did I miss one of your faves? If so, please let me know.

John O'Connor is McKnight's Editorial Director.


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Daily Editors' Notes

McKnight's Daily Editors' Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news and issues. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor, Editor James M. Berklan, Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman and Staff Writer Marty Stempniak.