The holiday season is here, and many wonderful activities are happening. As you hustle and bustle, be aware that accidents and injuries can occur. When you see a doctor, they record a diagnosis code explaining the purpose of the appointment. Some codes describe the actual injury and others describe what happened during the injury. For example, Y93.2 is the code for “activities involving snow and ice.” So, if you went sledding, crashed into a tree, and broke your left femur or thigh bone, your medical chart would show these codes: S72.8X2A “other fracture of left femur, initial encounter for closed fracture”, W22.0 “striking against stationary object”, and Y93.2.
With this in mind, let’s have some fun and review codes that would be used for mishaps from popular holiday songs and movies. For the grandma who was run over by a reindeer, we would use codes W55.32XA and V06.00xa defined as “struck by other hoof stock, initial encounter” and “pedestrian on foot injured in collision with other nonmotor vehicle in nontraffic accident”, respectively. The song does not specify injuries received from this accident, but there is mention of drinking too much eggnog. Therefore, we might verify the diagnosis of R78.9 which is “finding of alcohol in blood”.
In the holiday movie A Christmas Story, Ralphie wants a Daisy Red Ryder BB gun. His mother warns that he will end up with S05.90XA “unspecified injury of unspecified eye and orbit.” Of course, that doesn’t have the same ring to it as “You’ll shoot your eye out!” Don’t forget Ralphie’s classmate who gets his tongue stuck to the frozen flagpole. His injury would be noted as T33.90 and S00.502A which are “superficial frostbite to unspecified sites” and “unspecified injury to oral cavity, initial encounter.” Ouch!
I hope that Santa can avoid E73.0 and W13.2xxA which are “lactose Intolerance” and “fall from, out of or through roof, initial encounter.” Either of those situations would make Santa less merry and bright. And let’s hope the jolly old elf has seatbelts in his sleigh because if Rudolph gets anxious in the fog and makes a sharp turn, Santa might have a V00.221A, “fall from sled, initial encounter”.
May your stockings stay safely hung by the fireplace without X02.0XXA “exposure to flames in controlled fire in building or structure [fireplace], initial encounter”. No one wants their holiday ruined by Z63.1 “problems in relationship with in-laws”. And hopefully your children don’t have any Z62.891 “sibling rivalry” issues.
My wish for all of you is a peaceful, silent night, preferably not due to H83.3 “noise induced hearing loss” from all the carolers at your door. And, in the New Year, may you only need to come to the clinic for Z00.00 “encounter for general adult medical examination without abnormal findings”.
Happy Ho, Ho, Holidays and stay healthy out there people!
Richard P. Holm, MD, passed away in March 2020 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He is founder of The Prairie Doc. For free and easy access to the entire Prairie Doc library, visit www.prairiedoc.org and follow Prairie Doc on Facebook. Jill Kruse, D.O. is part of The Prairie Doc team of physicians and currently practices family medicine in Brookings, S.D.