th version of the International Classification of Diseases, a.k.a. ICD-10, medical coding system promises to usher in many positive improvements in health tracking and vital records statistics because of its increased focus on detailed reporting. Through ICD-10, health professionals will have access to roughly 68,000 codes, compared to 14,000 codes with the prior version, allowing for a huge gain in coding specificity.
Except, there’s being prepared—and then, there’s just going overboard. Within the new coding system, a few oddities have arisen in the effort to be as specific as possible in labeling certain medical issues. These unique codes and incident descriptions have certainly achieved the goal of specificity—and spiraled right into becoming hilarious little gems that will have coders chuckling to themselves all the livelong day.
Take a look at some of the more outrageous codes now being used in the ICD-10 coding system—and take a moment to imagine how much more entertaining your job is going to be when October arrives.
- W61.33: Pecked by a chicken
I’m guessing farmers have reported a few of these. But is it really that serious?
- W61.12XA: Struck by macaw, initial encounter
I can only imagine South America has a real problem with this one
- W22.02XD: V95.43XS: Spacecraft collision injuring occupant, sequel
I think there’s only about 6 people still alive who could possibly have this problem.
- W61.62XD: Struck by duck, subsequent encounter
Apparently, we all need to watch for low flying fowl.
- V97.33XD: Sucked into jet engine, subsequent encounter
Is it possible to have a subsequent encounter of getting sucked into a jet engine? I was pretty sure that was a one-time gig.
- Y93.D1: Accident while knitting or crocheting
I can believe that. Knitting needles are like the butcher knives of crafting.
- S10.87XA: Other superficial bite of other specified part of neck, initial encounter
Um, isn’t that a hickey? Do you really need to go to the doctor for a hickey?
- W55.41XA: Bitten by pig, initial encounter
Farm animals are dangerous. Beware.
- Y92.241: Hurt at the library
- Y92.253: Hurt at the opera
Must be a ruptured ear drum? Or maybe PTSD?
- W56.22: Struck by orca, initial encounter
Um, yeah. I don’t even think I have to touch that one.
- W56.32: Struck by marine mammals
Ok, a catch-all for dangerous sea mammal category. Good idea. But why did orcas get their own category?
- W56.11: Bitten by sea lion
- V91.07: Burn due to water-skis on fire
Seriously? This seems like a “hold my beer” kind of problem. Maybe there should be a category for that. The hold-my-beer-so-I-can-do-something-stupid category. Too broad?
- V91.35: Hit or struck by falling object due to accident by canoe or kayak
How does that even happen? There are like 5 things that would have to coincidentally occur for you to be struck by something falling from the sky while you’re in the middle of a body of water. This would definitely be the Murphy’s Law code.
The best part: these codes exist because someone, at some time, in some place was actually admitted to a medical facility for treatment due to one of these issues. Think on that for a few moments and try not to laugh too hard. And coders, your normally detail-oriented, somewhat tedious jobs are about to get a whole lot more interesting—enjoy the oncoming fun.