If a British Doctor Invites You to ‘Surgery,’ Should You Be Worried?

5. PFO: Pissed, Fell Over vs. intoxicated patients

Credit: Clara Molden/PA Wire URN: 5125826 (Press Association via AP Images)

Doctors the world over have invented slang to help them describe their patients in coded language, allowing them to convey messages that can’t be said in polite company. PFO, for instance, is an acronym referring to a drunken patient who injures himself or herself by falling down. Doctors may use this acronym in conversation by saying: “The PFOs started rolling in just before midnight.”

While saying PFO is allowed, writing it down on a patient’s chart might get you sued in court. While not a kind term, PFO has a nice mixture of acceptance and defiance. It’s also much nicer than the phrase “pumpkin positive,” which means that a patient’s brain is so empty of intelligence that a penlight shone into his or her mouth would light up the whole head like a hollowed out pumpkin.

NEXT: In Britain, “A&E” isn’t where you go to watch Hoarders or Parking Wars.

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