The Wackiest Medical Codes for the Strangest Conditions

#MedicalCodes #Coding #ICD-10 #medicine #odd

With the enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise known as Obamacare, medical practitioners must classify all treatments in accordance with approved medical codes. This is a lot more complex than it sounds. The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) identifies some 68,000 billing codes. Included in the list of codes are the things you would expect, such as the common cold (J00 – Acute nasopharyngitis), stubbed toe (S90.1 — Contusion of toe without damage to nail), and chickenpox (B01.9 — Varicella without complication). There are also a lot of codes that leave you scratching your head, wondering why they are even necessary. Consider the following weird ICD-10 codes:

  • Y92.241 – Injury at library. Is this for the libraries that have really strict rules against overdue books?
  • V97.33 – Sucked into jet engine. As troubling as being sucked into a jet engine sounds, just imagine the circumstances under which V97.33XD would be used. It is for “Sucked into jet engine, subsequent encounter.” That’s for the person who survived the first jet engine experience and felt lucky enough to try it again.
  • Y93.D: Activities involved arts and handcrafts. Preschool and summer camps are, no doubt, the biggest contributors to this malady.
  • Y92.146: Swimming-pool of prison as the place of occurrence of the external cause.
  • W61.62XD: Struck by duck, subsequent encounter. You know how dangerous those serial attack ducks can be.
  • Z63.1: Problems in relationship with in-laws. Shouldn’t this just be automatically stamped on everyone’s medical chart?
  • W22.02 – Walked into lamppost. Okay, this can happen to anyone. It’s the next one, W220.2XD — Walked into lamppost, subsequent encounter, that makes one wonder what is going on. Perhaps it goes along with F10.1 — Alcohol abuse.
  • Y93.D: V91.07XD: Burn due to water-skis on fire, subsequent encounter. Two things to take away from this one: first of all, apparently water skis are flammable, and secondly, some people fall off of a burning water ski, only to climb right back on.
  • W55.29XA: Other contact with cow, subsequent encounter. There are codes for being bitten and kicked by a cow. This code is evidently reserved for those who get hurt when cow-tipping goes awry.
  • phantomY92.253 – Injured at an Opera House. If only this diagnosis had been available for the Phantom of the Opera.
  • V95.43XS: Spacecraft collision injuring occupant, sequela.
    The “sequela” refers to a series of incidents, so this code is reserved for those who are playing bumper cars with spacecraft, bouncing from one to another until someone gets hurt.
  • W61.12XA: Struck by macaw, initial encounter. Considering the fact that macaws are endangered, anyone getting hurt in this manner probably had it coming.
  • R46.1: Bizarre personal appearance. If this code had been around in the 18th century, it could have been used to classify John Heidegger.
  • W56.22 Struck by orca. Presumably, these injuries take place relatively close to water, but these days, it’s impossible to say.
  • W61.32 Pecked by chicken. Not to be confused with the hilarious and highly-recommended book, Pecked to Death by Goslings, by Jane Trahey.
  • W53.29 Other contact with squirrel. This is for those who are beaten about the head and shoulders with the body of a squirrel.
  • Y93.84 – Injured while sleeping. This is not, as you might think, injuries that occur while sleepwalking. Those are covered by F51.3 — Somnambulism. How does one sustain other injuries while sleeping?
  • Laurel and Hardy in spaceX52 – Prolonged stay in a weightless environment. It would be worth it to go through the hassle of becoming a physician just for one chance to diagnose someone with this. What is most interesting, however, is that the codes X51 – X58 all fall under the general heading of “accidental exposure.” That means that NASA astronauts would not receive this classification; it is reserved for someone who found himself accidentally in outer space.
  • T63.012A — Toxic effect of rattlesnake venom, intentional self-harm. Just so we’re clear about it, this is not a code to be used for someone who is accidentally bitten by a rattlesnake, nor is it for someone who tries to kill himself with a cobra. No, this code is reserved for those who try to commit suicide with a rattlesnake. (By the way, trying to kill yourself with a cobra is T63.042A for the first attempt and T63.042D for those who survive the first attempt and try again.)
  • T63.442S — Toxic effect of venom of bees, intentional self-harm, sequela. Because there are times when you want to go out in the most painful way possible.
  • R14.3 Flatulence causing injury. Common decency precludes us from expounding on this one. It didn’t stop us from writing about the topic in these posts, however.
  • helicopter parentsZ621 Parental overprotection. Helicopter parents can be such a pain — particularly when they trigger a visit to the doctor because of their overprotectiveness.
  • Z62.891 Sibling Rivalry. Cain and Abel triggered the first need for a medical code.
  • Y93.E4 Activity, ironing. We have always heard that housework can be harmful.
  • S30.867A Insect bite (nonvenomous) of anus, initial encounter. This is why you should always use bug spray and wear pants while playing outside.
  • R46.0 Very low level of personal hygiene. This will likely be seen in people who are also experiencing Z60.4 — Social exclusion and rejection. See also Z73.4 — Inadequate social skills, not elsewhere classified.
  • Y93.D1 Knitting and crocheting. When working with yarn becomes a contact sport.
  • 'Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear', 1889. Artist: Vincent van Gogh

    Vincent Van Gogh’s face and bandaged ear (detail), Vincent van Gogh, Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear, 1889, oil on canvas, 60 x 49 cm (Courtauld Galleries, London)

  • Y92.250 Art gallery as the place of occurrence of the external cause. Perhaps this should be the name of Vincent Van Gogh‘s self-portrait, made after he sliced off his ear.
  • W5611XD Bitten by sea lion. At last, there is a diagnostic code for penguins.
  • Z89.419 Acquired absence of unspecified great toe. How many great toes does one have to allow for a lack of specificity
  • V9135XA Hit or struck by falling object due to accident to canoe or kayak. Consider the chain of events leading to this diagnosis. It isn’t enough to be hit by an object — it must be a falling object. And it’s not enough that the falling object strikes you; it must be falling as a result of a canoe or kayak. Not just any old canoe or kayak event, though; it must be due to an accident.
  • W55.52 Struck by raccoon. This should serve as a vivid reminder of why you should always carry an umbrella. You never know when you will find yourself in the middle of a bunch of falling raccoons.
  • concrete shoes.jpgZ65.2 Problems related to release from prison. We suspect this code is reserved for jailhouse snitches who rat out the mob. This code is used in lieu of one for “found at the bottom of Lake Michigan with feet encased in concrete.”

Read about more unusual diseases.

Read more examples of government bureaucracy.

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