50 Funny Medical Terms and Phrases
July 10, 2019
The healthcare industry is a fast-paced environment that requires professionals to come up with quick names, terms, or phrases to identify and quickly treat a patient. Unfortunately, medical terminology is quite long, contains many letters, has unique Latin phrases, and can be confusing when you’re not up to date on your Latin and Greek roots.
In the healthcare industry, there are literally hundreds if not thousands of potential word combinations that could mean one thing or another when you give or take a few phrases. If you’re mistaken or confused at the time, you might say that a patient has one condition when they actually have something else.
To make things easier, healthcare professionals have developed plenty of medical terms and phrases that help them quickly identify what a patient might be suffering from, or refer to a group of individuals with ease. Some of them can be insults, but most of them were crafted with the intention to quickly identify what a patient might be suffering from out of necessity. We’ve outlined some of the funniest medical terms and phrases that have arisen from this practice over time.
1. Alphabet Soup
The first funny medical phrase on our list is Alphabet Soup. Often times, a healthcare professional might be speaking to a patient or another co-worker when they say something like, “I know I just said a bunch of Alphabet Soup to you, but I’ll explain it so you understand what it means.” When you think of Alphabet Soup, you probably think of the actual soup when you were a child, and you would try to form words or acronyms for things with the letters you had. In the healthcare industry, acronyms are used to quickly identify certain conditions or diagnoses. When a healthcare professional refers to Alphabet Soup, they are simply stating they gave a quick flurry of acronyms to a patient or co-worker like H.I.V., M.R.S.A, and more.
2. Butts and Guts
Throughout our list, you’ll often see funny medical terms or funny medical phrases that refer to a group of specialists, patients, or healthcare professionals. This funny phrase refers to Gastroenterologists who often frequently work with patients when they have ailments or afflictions that affect their stomach, intestines, colon, rectum, gallblader, and esophagus. There are as many unique names for different specializations for healthcare professionals as there are diseases or ailments. Quickly referring to a Gastroenterologist as a Butts and Guts doctor is much quicker than hoping that a patient understands what Gastroenterologist is.
3. Code Brown
In plenty of cases, the funny medical terms and phrases on our list are also used to describe less than ideal scenarios that a medical professional might have to deal with. Instead of being vulgar or using descriptive language that grosses people out, healthcare professionals will use phrases and terms that get the point across more appropriately. Code Brown is a good example of this, as it means that a patient has had a poop nightmare and that it is everywhere.
4. Flu in the Knees
Some medical conditions can be difficult to explain to certain patients. They’d rather have visualizations or explanations given to them in ways that they can understand instead of complex medical terminology like we’ve highlighted above. One of those abstract medical conditions that can be hard to explain to a patient is arthritis. All they understand is that they feel pain when they do certain activities or that it lingers for quite some time.
Telling a patient they have Flu in the Knees is telling them that they have arthritis in their knees. Nearly everyone has had the flu at some point in their life, and they can understand that it stinks until it goes away. Arthritis can have flareups similar to a bad case of the flu, but it’s a chronic condition that a patient will have to deal with over time.
5. Gas Passer
Similar to a Butts and Guts doctor, Gas Passer is a reference to an Anesthesiologist. This is a funny medical phrase for Anaesthesiologists because they often put their patients under with gas before an important or dangerous procedure.
6. Crispy Critter
The next funny medical phrase is used to help describe a patient’s physical appearance. Unfortunately, certain medical conditions have a distinct physical appearance that healthcare professionals often see too often. To alleviate some of the more painful pictures or grotesque imagery associated with certain medical conditions, healthcare professionals might come up with funny phrases like Crispy Critter. When a healthcare professional refers to a patient as a Crispy Critter, they’re referencing how they have severe burns on their body.
7. Coffin Dodger
Some funny medical phrases are used to describe just how close a patient came to a certain result. Unfortunately, there are cases in which a patient comes very close to death and they don’t really realize it. For those patients who are a little bit older, their close encounters with the grave are a little bit closer. For those patients who narrowly avoid going to the grave, healthcare professionals will use a phrase like Coffin Dodger to let others know just how close the patient came.
The next funny medical phrase we have for certain healthcare professionals and specialists is Bloodsucker. This term refers to those healthcare professionals that are Phlebotomists. Oddly enough it seems like a fitting phrase because of their intimate work with collecting a patient’s blood and properly storing it.
9. Bait Shop
Some funny medical terms and phrases are more unique than others and you have to think about them for a bit before you begin to understand what they mean. Bait Shop refers to a neonatal ICU because the neonatal ICU attracts everyone. All the babies need to be properly cared for, so there is always a team of nurses swimming or floating around to check on them, much like how bait attracts the attention of fishes.
10. Baby Catcher
A baby catcher could be referenced to a lot of different things in the healthcare industry, but the most common baby catcher reference is for Obstetrician. A baby catcher is a funny phrase when referencing someone who deals with the specialization and practice of caring for pregnant women.
11. Bone Cracker
The next funny medical phrase to describe certain types of healthcare professionals is Bone Cracker. This can be used to describe one, or a multitude of them. For those who haven’t figured out what this funny medical phrase means, it refers to Orthopedic Surgeons. Orthopedic Surgeons are responsible for treating conditions that a patient might be suffering from in relation to their bone structure, ligaments, tendons, and muscles. In many cases, Orthopedic Surgeons are needed to deal with joint replacements or fracture injuries.
12. Leaky Sieve
Healthcare professionals have a wide host of different terms and phrases for Doctors and specialists. These are used to quickly identify them and their functions. These phrases also serve to describe them in kind phrases, and sometimes unkind phrases. When a healthcare professional refers to a Doctor as a Leaky Sieve, they’re referring to a Doctor that always needs to consult with other healthcare professionals before making a diagnosis.
It’s essentially stating that they can never come up with their own conclusion and that they always need the assistance of someone else to be certain. Seeking a second opinion is always recommended in healthcare, but sometimes it can drag out the diagnosis and treatment plan much longer than it needs to be.
13. Code Princess
The next funny medical phrase that isn’t as kind to certain types of healthcare professionals is when they are referenced as a Code Princess. As we mentioned earlier, there are plenty of codes that each healthcare professional should know like Code Blue. Code Princess certainly isn’t one of those codes that each healthcare professional is forced to know because it can be an insult from time to time. Code Princess refers to a female healthcare professional who is acting like a stubborn stuck up princess about certain topics.
14. Frequent Flyer
There are plenty of medical phrases and terms that a healthcare professional might know because they need to reference certain types of patients. This medical phrase and term is perfect for explaining what kind of patient the individual is, so they know how to interact with them or understand why the patient is behaving the way they are. When a healthcare professional refers to a patient as a Frequent Flyer, they’re referring to them as someone who comes into the hospital on a regular basis. Sometimes these frequent flyers have chronic conditions that need constant care or they are a hypochondriac who often complains about the smallest things and needs to be evaluated by a healthcare professional.
15. Going Down The Tubes
This funny medical phrase is one that you hope not to hear anytime soon. Unfortunately, when a healthcare professional or patient says this phrase, it tends to indicate that they are starting to feel really sick really fast. Much like when someone goes down a slide, they can start to ramp up how badly they’re feeling really quickly — hence the name going down the tubes.
16. Google MD
The internet has given everyone plenty of tools to do wondrous things. The problem is that the internet has also given rise to plenty of things that only complicate matters unnecessarily. One of the ways that the internet has complicated things is that every single person or source can put medical information on the internet. While some of it can be quite useful and well-researched from reliable sources, there is a lot of badly researched things that only serve to complicate matters. These bad sources only serve as a means of confusion or misinformation for patients who try to do their own research.
When a healthcare professional refers to someone as a Google MD, they are referring to a patient who googled their symptoms and then tried to come up with their own conclusion on what they might have. They then use the information they gathered and try to correct the healthcare professional in their own diagnosis with the information they supposedly gathered online. Unfortunately, googling someone’s symptoms doesn’t mean that they’re going to come up with an accurate diagnosis, and it only serves as a point of frustration for healthcare professionals who are trying to get an accurate diagnosis.
The next funny medical term is also quite sad in some ways. Unfortunately, patients come from a variety of backgrounds. These differences in a patient’s background often mean that they have different opinions and feelings about certain things. One of those things includes a hospital as a place of staying overnight, versus a place that is solely focused on providing care. Some patients like to abuse the system by claiming they are suffering from an illness or disease and need treatment, except they’re only looking for a place to stay overnight because they have no other option.
They know that if they get admitted into the hospital, they are going to be given a bed to sleep in, attention, and food they can eat. Regardless of their intention, when a healthcare professional uses this funny medical term to describe a patient, everyone quickkly understands their meaning.
18. Knuckle Draggers
Some of the funny medical phrases and terms on our list are different names for similar things or individuals. In this case, Knuckle Draggers is a fine example of a different name for Orthopedic Surgeons. As we’ve covered earlier, Bone Crackers is another name for Orthopedic Surgeons.
19. Level 2 Drama
In the healthcare industry, there are different levels of trauma care that can be provided to patients. Each one has different features that ramp up as you progress through the levels. A level 2 trauma center is a trauma center that can provide indefinite care for the injured patients, and can provide comprehensive care coverage in a 24 hour period. For those healthcare professionals who refer to a co-worker as Level 2 Drama, they’re essentially stating that they’re non-stop drama.
As we’ve highlighted earlier in our list of funny medical terms and phrases, some of them aren’t always the kindest phrases even though they’re amusing to hear and say. This is another case in which this term is used in a sometimes unfriendly manner. A Noctor is a nurse who often believes or behaves like they are a Doctor.
Some of the funny medical terms and medical phrases are often terms of endearment. This nickname is often reminiscent of the Jedi padawans in Star Wars who are often referred to as Younglings. A Nursling is a medical term used to refer to student nurses who are often getting their first exposure to the healthcare industry and don’t have much experience interacting with patients, working in the fast-paced healthcare environment, and have much to learn.
22. Dr. Nopiate
With the recent education about the crisis surrounding the opiate and prescription drug crisis, many doctors and physicians have taken the stance that they will no longer prescribe drugs to their patients — even in some of the most dire circumstances. They fear that exposing patients to the potential consequences of getting addicted to prescription drugs or opiates will set them down a path that they cannot come back from. Dr. Nopiates are doctors who will not prescribe prescription drugs to patients under any circumstances, even in the emergency room.
23. Dump Job
Some patients can be a handful. In other scenarios, some patients cannot receive adequate care or be handled in an efficient manner because the current facility is too busy or they’re overwhelmed with a multitude of patient cases at any given time. In those scenarios, a dump job might be performed. This is when a patient is transferred to another facility or hospital so the original facility doesn’t have to deal with it.
24. Digging For Worms
One of the first things that nearly every emergency room visit consists of is to get an IV into a patient. Depending on their symptoms, an IV is a good way to ensure that the patient is hydrated with the proper fluids and isn’t suffering from a major ailment because they are dehydrated. Another thing that hospitals and healthcare facilities will often do is request bloodwork on a patient to run some diagnostic tests. In these situations, a healthcare professional might use the phrase “Digging For Worms,” to refer to trying to find veins in a patient to stick the needle in.
25. Daycare Workers
The next amusing medical phrase, albeit an unflattering one, is to refer to some healthcare professionals as Daycare Workers. Some healthcare professionals that are referred to as daycare workers include Certified Nursing Assistants. The reason CNAs often get mentioned as daycare workers is because much of their role revolves around assisting patients with some of their daily tasks that they can no longer do themselves. In addition, they take some of the burdens off of RNs who are trying to make their rounds. This tedious monitoring of patients is similar to how a daycare worker takes care of children and will be the first to come running when someone needs assistance.
26. City Taxi
Some patients like to abuse the system wherever they can. One of those ways that a patient might abuse the system is by taking advantage of ambulances and emergency vehicles. Some patients like to use ambulances and emergency vehicles as their own personal transit system because they’re too lazy to drive to the hospital themselves, or they think that going through an ambulance will help them get care faster than if they were to sit in the lobby for an extended period of time.
This is especially troublesome for those patients who don’t have an emergency situation and will call an ambulance for something minor. The odd thing is that an emergency room visit via an ambulance isn’t cheap, as it can cost between $400 to $1,200 per trip. Sometimes, it can be even more expensive than that, and there’s no guarantee that an insurance company will pay for the bulk of it. Healthcare professionals like to refer to these individuals and patients as riders of the City Taxi.
27. Bug Juice
If you’ve ever had a serious infection or ailment, you might have been prescribed antibiotics to take a proactive approach in getting rid of the illness or to prevent it from taking hold stronger than it has already. Some healthcare professionals like to use the phrase Bug Juice to highlight antibiotics as the force that will help get rid of some of the internal bugs that a patient might be dealing with. Similar to how some PCs get bogged down by bugs that might infect the operating system, antibiotics will help get rid of some of the bugs that infect our immune system and help us return to a healthy well-being.
28. Baby Doctors
The next funny medical phrase that can be a term of endearment is referencing doctors in training as Baby Doctors. They often refer to these doctors in training as baby doctors because there are so many things that doctors have to learn on the job as opposed to the theory in the classroom. You can learn all about how to respond to certain situations and handle emergency care scenarios in the classroom, but handling it in person and in real-life situations provides the best experience and knowledge. In this sense, doctors in training have limited experience and knowledge like a baby.
One funny medical phrase that some have attributed in the chaotic environment of the healthcare industry is Blamestorming. While not very common, this is one that nearly everyone has experienced in some form or fashion at one point throughout their career — someone looking to blame someone at any cost. In certain situations where blame needs to be placed on someone, individuals might cause a storm trying to figure out who is responsible.
This funny medical term might not be the best one to describe this type of healthcare professional, but it is used from time to time. When you think of a slasher, you might think of Jason Vorhees or Michael Myers. Instantly, you think to yourself some pretty negative thoughts about the kind of work they do to their victims — it’s not always the prettiest sight. In some cases, healthcare professionals will refer to some physicians and surgeons because of the sloppy work they do on their patients. These healthcare professionals tend to rush their surgeries and often do so at the expense of their patient.
One of the unique and funny medical acronyms we have on our list of funny medical terms and phrases is SBI. This one can be kind of difficult to imagine or think about when you’re trying to figure out what it might mean, but it’s quite amusing once you realize it. SBI stands for, Something Bad Inside. Almost in a fit of ignorance, some healthcare professionals might say, “I don’t know what’s going on but they have an SBI”.
This is another one of the more confusing and difficult to think of medical terms and phrases that we have on our list, but once you understand it — it’s quite funny. We’ll give you the first letter and let you think of what the other two letters might be in this acronym. The first letter stands for Chronic. Think about it for a few seconds. Figure it out? The full acronym stands for Chronic Biscuit Toxicity. It stands for referencing a patient who is really fat because they often eat a lot of food.
33. Strong as a Bull
The next funny medical phrase happens to be when a patient is referred to as Strong as a Bull. Initially, this might seem like a compliment, but it’s a two-folded statement. Often, healthcare professionals never repeat the second piece because it is an insult to their intelligence. If a healthcare professional refers to a patient as Strong as a Bull, they’re leaving out the part, “dumb as an ox”.
34. Shotgun Approach
The healthcare industry is so vast, that it comes as no surprise that the potential ailments, sickness, diseases, conditions, or problems that a patient might face could also be nearly endless. When a healthcare professional cannot figure out what their patient is dealing with, they might order a battery of tests to figure out what the issue is and come to a conclusion about what’s going on. This battery of test approach is often referred to as a Shotgun Approach, because it reflects how a shotgun blast occurs where you try to hit a much wider target with more pellets, without narrowing in on one specific thing.
35. Vitamin IQ Deficiency
We’ve often heard healthcare professionals say things like, “Oh you have a Vitamin A deficiency,” or a “Well, you’re just running low on some Vitamin D,” statement. But have you ever heard a heatlhcare professional say something along the lines of, “You have a Vitamin IQ Deficiency”? No? Probably not. It’s not something that a smart healthcare professional would say to a patient in front of their face. Instead, healthcare professionals might make this remark to their co-workers when referencing a patient who just isn’t following the advice of those closest to him or the advice of their supervising healthcare professionals.
Every now and then, healthcare professionals encounter something they’ve never exposed before or they’ve never had to deal with before. Sometimes, they’ve only seen this particular condition or diagnosis in a textbook or in one of their classes. One funny medical term that a healthcare professional might use when they encounter one of these rare things is to call it a Zebra. It’s a fitting name because people often see different types of horses all the time, but they rarely see a Zebra. In the healthcare industry, some diseases and conditions are so rare that they are never seen except on strange occasions.
37. White Cloud
Have you ever heard of the phrase, “There’s a dark cloud hanging over my head”? This phrase usually indicates that trouble is brewing or that nothing can go right even when you try to make things happen like you want. On the contrary, a white cloud is a common phrase used by healthcare professionals to refer to someone who has to deal with easy patients or make easy diagnoses regularly. These individuals never seem to have busy days and everything seems to just go easy for them.
You’ve probably had to deal with someone who just frustrates you every single time they interact with you. Well, the healthcare industry is no different. Healthcare professionals have to deal with a wide variety of patients on a daily basis, and there are those patients who seem to be a nuisance every single time they come back around or whenever someone has to deal with them. For those particular patients, healthcare professionals use a funny acronym that consist of four letters: PITB. This acronym stands for Pain in the Butt, and fits those difficult patients perfectly.
39. Yellow Submarine
The next funny medical phrase on our list of funny medical terms and phrases is when a healthcare professional refers to a patient as a Yellow Submarine. Yellow Submarines are a reference to those patients who are currently suffering from some form of juandice and appear yellow because of their liver complications.
We’ve all seen those new families who just recently had a child and are quite inexperienced. There’s nothing wrong with this, until it becomes a recurring issue that the healthcare industry and healthcare professionals have to deal with. NPS stands for New Parent Syndrome, and occurs when a parent or set of parents repeatedly bring in their baby or children to deal with minor issues because they freak out whenever something appears to be going wrong. There’s nothing wrong with this, as they just want to make sure their baby is fully healthy, but it does become an issue over time as healthcare facilities have to free up resources to deal with something that isn’t serious.
This is one of the more obscure medical terms that might be used, but it is quite funny. In some testing procedures, healthcare professionals are tasked with using a variety of tools and equipment to get the things they need. In some cases, a patient needs to provide a larger blood sample or acquire a sample from a patient’s muscles. In those cases, a Big Ole Needle is needed to acquire the tissue or blood sample needed to properly test the patient.
42. Cut and Paste
If you’ve ever had to write a paper, you’ve probably found that you can just cut and paste certain parts of your document to other areas on the computer. Sometimes you just pick one spot and put it somewhere else, or you leave it in the same spot. In some healthcare procedures, a Cut and Paste phrase is used to indicate that they tried to perform procedures, and realized they couldn’t do anything more to potentially assist the patient or delay the condition/ailment that was affecting them. In essence, a surgeon would cut open a patient, realize they couldn’t do anything, and paste the incision back together.
43. To Turf
Earlier we covered how a patient might be transferred from one location to another to either receive care that wasn’t available or to lessen the burden of the original facility. Well, there’s a similar phrase that hospitals, healthcare facilities, and healthcare professionals might use when they get to transition a patient to a different service department. This phrase is to send them “To Turf”.
44. Walkie Talkie
We have covered extensively about the hustle and bustle associated with the healthcare industry. Over time, healthcare professionals have to become accustomed to multi-tasking and handling multiple patients at once, including communicating with other healthcare professionals. Trying to keep up and go about your rounds efficiently and effectively means that you need to communicate on the go, and healthcare professionals will often refer to those successful professionals as Walkie Talkies because they can communicate quickly while walking and not miss a beat.
45. Snot Docs
Another funny medical phrase used to refer to a certain type of Doctor is Snot Docs. These healthcare professionals are those Pulmonologists who work intimately with the organs that help us breathe. These organs include the pharynx, larynx, bronchi, alveoli, bronchioles, trachea, mouth and nose.
46. Poop Scoopers
One of the more vulgar but funny medical phrases on our list is when a healthcare professional refers to someone as a Poop Scooper. Luckily, they tend to only refer to one group of healthcare professionals as Poop Scoopers. One of those individuals happens to be Gastroenterologists. As we have discusses earlier, these healthcare professionals are often referred to as Butts and Guts doctors as well.
The next funny medical term on our list is when someone is referred to as a puppy. No, they aren’t talking about the actual cute furry animal. They’re talking about residents and interns. Similar to the Baby Doctors phrase we highlighted earlier, Puppies is often a term of endearment in reference to those new healthcare professionals who are getting their first taste of what the healthcare industry is like in the real world.
We’ve referenced several different medical phrases and terms that highlight differnet types of healthcare professionals, patients, scenarios, and conditions. The one thing we haven’t mentioned a lot is the funny phrases that tools often get. We’ve already mentioned the Big Ole Needle, but the next one on our list of funny medical terms is the Doughnut. The Doughnut is the funny phrase some healthcare professionals use when they’re trying to refer to the CT scanner that a patient might have to go through to get an accurate diagnosis.
Another term of endearment that is quite funny when you hear it in a healthcare facility is when a healthcare professional will refer to those sweet elderly gentlemen. Often times, elderly gentleman are really nice to healthcare professionals, and they often joke about them as being their boyfriend.
50. Code Yellow
Similar to the Code Brown we’ve highlighted earlier, there are certain codes that healthcare professionals use when trying to reference that a patient has accidentally urinated. For these scenarios, healthcare professionals will say things like, “We have a Code Yellow.”