21 slang terms only EMS providers would know

Add your own to the list in the comments section; don't worry, it's top secret.

By Michael Morse

From the book, "Responding":

I spent months in EMT cardiac school learning how to analyze different rhythms and their underlying cause. We practiced identifying and interpreting everything from a normal sinus rhythm, premature atrial contractions, paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia, atrial fibrillation, junctional rhythms, PVC‘s, V-tack, asystole and many more.


Mike has finished connecting the leads, runs a strip and hands it to me. I look it over, analyze the P wave, QRS complex and elevated T waves and give my diagnosis to Mike.

“He‘s fucked.”

I‘ve narrowed all of the rhythms I learned in school down to two. Fucked and Not Fucked.

The secret codes of EMS

Ever wonder what half the people in this crazy world are talking about? Some days I think the world has gone mad. Then, I think of how some of the things I say would be perceived by the general public.

In EMS, we have a secret language all our own. Here are a few of my favorites I came across over the years.

1) Da Motrin

What to say when a patient asks for that pain medicine that starts with a "D".

2) Doctart

Female nurses or patients who have a thing for doctors.

3) Donorcycle

A motorcycle.

4) Eternal Care Unit (ECU)

People in the morgue

5) Paragod

An EMT who thinks they know everything.

6) Trauma Handshake

Rectal exam in a trauma

7) Treat and Street

Get them out of the ER

The different "codes":

8) Code 99

Cardiac Arrest, CPR in Progress (on the street)

9) Code Blue

Cardiac arrest (in the ER)

10) Code Brown

Poop blowout

11) Code Pink

Patients who are thought to be homosexual

12) Code Princess

A doctor acting up and in need of administrative attitude adjustment

13) Code Yellow

Incontinent of urine

14) Code Blue Hair

Cardiac arrest on a really old person

For those not-really-so-sick patients:

15) Status dramaticus

This patient cannot be touched, talked to or treated because of the intensity of their imagined malady.

16) Googlechondria

Condition in which patients look up their symptoms on Google before seeking medical assistance. Example: "I've been having fever, body aches and this weird rash for about a month. I looked it up on Google, and I'm pretty sure I have ebola."

17) Drama Room

The trauma room is for the people who are about to die. The drama room is for the people who always think they are about to die.

The everyday slang:

18) FTF

Failure to fly. Usually used in cases of head bumps, but can be used to describe various traumas.

19) Crackacardia

Cardiac symptoms related to crack cocaine.

20) Cellulitis

A so-called sick person in a jail cell.

And finally:

21) Terms for "Recently Deceased Persons"

Paws up, Tits up, ART (assuming room temperature), CC (Cancel Christmas), CTD (circling the drain), DRT (dead right there) or NLPR (no longer playing records).

I think I've only scratched the surface of our secret language. Add your own to the list in the comments section. And don't worry, it's top secret!

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