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6.53 What do all those medical terms mean? (ER) G-O


This article is from the ER FAQ, by Rose Cooper cooper@acm.cse.msu.edu with numerous contributions by others.

6.53 What do all those medical terms mean? (ER) G-O

+ Glasgow Coma Score (or scale, depending on who you talk to): A
measurement of how conscious and alert someone is. A GCS of 15 is a
fully alert person (although they may not be oriented); a GCS of 3 is
someone who is completely unresponsive and unconscious. An intubated
patient has a maximum GCS of 10. (Properly 10-T, but nobody seems to
do this anymore.)
+ Gomer: Get Out Of My Emergency Room. A patient you really don't want
to deal with. Usually elderly, and practically indestructible. More
generally, those minor, irritating complaints that show up around
03:30 when you're in the middle of a great dream.
+ Goop: Conductive gel -- that stuff that gets dumped on the paddles of
the defibrillator before shocking the patient. I swear I am not making
this up. Used so the person on the receiving end doesn't get the skin
burned off their chest, which is always really pretty, hurts like hell,
and smells really bad.
+ GSW: Gunshot wound.
+ Haloperidol: Quite possibly the most useful drug in emergency medicine.
It's a sedative. Also known as Vitamin H.
+ ICP: Intracranial Pressure. Increased ICP is one of the results of blunt
trauma to the head, among other things.
+ IV Push: Most intravenous line sets have a port (sometimes more than one
port) on them that allows medications to be directly administered into
the blood stream. This gives a more rapid systemic availability of the
drug than if it were administered intradermally (ID; rarely done),
intramuscularly (IM) or subcutaneously (SC).
+ Lavage: Washing out. See DPL for a specific example. Another one
includes gastric lavage in cases of poisoning or upper GI bleeding.
+ LOC: Level Of Consciousness, or Loss Of Consciousness.
+ MI: Myocardial Infarction, sometimes called an AMI (the "A" standing
for "acute"). Blockage of a coronary artery as a result of plaque
formation cuts off the oxygen supply to the heart muscle, and causes
severe pain. It's a heart attack, in other words. See also "TPA" and
+ MRI: Or, to appease John Novak, nMRI. There, are you happy? :)
(Nuclear) Magnetic Resonance Imaging, something I seem to always get in
trouble for ordering. It's a type of diagnostic imaging that sucks
money like you wouldn't believe, but produces some incredible
pictures. Contemporary MRIs can create images that have a resolution
that's almost as good as a dissection. Cost: If you thought a CT was
+ MVA: Motor Vehicle Accident. This term has fallen into official disuse
in favor of MVI (motor vehicle incident), but I still use it, and I
suspect most people will continue to do so as well.
+ NG tube: Nasogastric tube. Through the nose, into the stomach. It's
about as much fun as it sounds. In the ED, it's used for gastric
lavage and emptying.
+ NMB: Neuromuscular blockade. See "RSI" for more information.
+ NS: Normal saline, as opposed to hypotonic or hypertonic saline. 0.9%
NaCl in distilled and sterile water.
+ O Neg: Type O-Negative blood. Called universal donor because it contains
no amounts of the common A or B antigen. People with A, B, or O blood
types will make antibodies to the antigen they don't have (A and/or B),
so giving O blood won't cause a reaction. The negative relates to the
Rhesus factor.


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