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Old 11 August 2014, 08:57 PM
snopes's Avatar
snopes snopes is offline
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Location: California
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Icon104 Medical records code

Comment: A friend claims that doctors write in their records that a
patient is "pleasant" as code for "fat" or "obese". A Google search turns
up people claiming this, as well as medical personel claiming that
"pleasant" just means "pleasant" (some of whom say that is subjective and
has no place in the records).

It's asserted at some of these sites that this code became necessary at
the time patients got the right to look at their records, but I'm not sure
when that was or whether we didn't always have the right to look at
records, and of course those rights or pertinent regulations would change
depending on where you are; I'm in England and so is the person who
claimed that pleasant is code for fat.
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Old 11 August 2014, 09:15 PM
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Jahungo Jahungo is offline
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Location: New York, NY
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Why would you need to secretly signal that a person is obese? You have their height and weight in the chart.

I guess it could potentially be a seriously well-muscled person, but odds are very good that if someone has a high enough BMI, they're overweight or obese.

Last edited by Jahungo; 11 August 2014 at 09:24 PM.
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Old 11 August 2014, 09:37 PM
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erwins erwins is offline
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Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 12,368

Obese is a medical term. I would expect to see it in medical records where relevant. I hope doctors aren't encoding relevant medical information in ways that can't be deciphered by anyone with the requisite background.
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Old 11 August 2014, 09:37 PM
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LizzyBean LizzyBean is offline
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Location: Columbus, OH
Posts: 15,909

One of the eye doctors i work for has her own code, but for people's personalities. Nothing to do with their size. She uses "interesting" for people who have slightly difficult personalities. The one time she referred to a patient's size in a letter to another doctor was because she wanted them to know he might have some difficulty being comfortable in the seats. I seriously doubt doctors are that cruel.
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Old 11 August 2014, 09:55 PM
Bettie Page Turner Bettie Page Turner is offline
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Location: Charleston, WV
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Heavt breathing

Pleasant means pleasant, pretty much. I've never seen it used as code for obese. Inside slang is usually spoken in the lounge or at the nurses station, not written in the chart. Some patients have been taken aback at being called SOB, though.
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Old 11 August 2014, 10:05 PM
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snopes snopes is offline
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Throw Tomato

My doctors usually just write NON-COMPLIANT across my medical folder in big red letters.
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Old 11 August 2014, 10:16 PM
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Gutter Monkey Gutter Monkey is offline
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
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Here's a US case where a patient made an official complaint to the state Board of Medicine when a doctor told her she was fat but a Superior Court judge ruled that doctors have a right to free speech the same as anyone else and threw the case out. I guess there's at least some patients who will kick up a ruckus if they don't like the way a medical practitioner addresses their weight issues.
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Old 11 August 2014, 10:53 PM
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Hero_Mike Hero_Mike is offline
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Location: Phoenix, AZ & Hamilton, ON
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There are problems with bias, though some of them - like whether or not a person is obese - is obvious when they meet the person. I have complained to doctors about headaches and difficulty sleeping. I am overweight. I snore, but I do not have sleep apnea. But being overweight leads them to often look for a simple solution despite the fact that it has already been dismissed. I don't have high blood pressure, and yet, they look for it as a potential cause for the headaches. Looking for that cause, after it's been dismissed, is a waste of my time, their limited resources, and insurance money. Of course, the one time I would go to the doctor with this complaint and for whatever reason - other illness, weather, white coat syndrome - my blood pressure was elevated that day, well, I'd never be able to get them to look at it more seriously.

Writing down some secret code for some non-obvious but embarrassing or very personal condition would make sense, as would indicating that someone like me does not have high blood pressure, but being overweight is almost always visible...
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Old 11 August 2014, 11:36 PM
Nick Theodorakis Nick Theodorakis is offline
Join Date: 05 November 2005
Location: Fishers, IN
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Originally Posted by Gutter Monkey View Post
... a Superior Court judge ruled that doctors have a right to free speech the same as anyone else ...
Except in Florida.

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Old 14 October 2014, 02:19 PM
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Not_Done_Living Not_Done_Living is offline
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Location: Markham, ON
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Many years ago i worked for a software company that built the software used by Community Health centers, (and eventually hospitals)all across Canada (Rise Healthware ftr, which was eventually bought by MedEasy)

And there were some medical shorthand codes that were used in this manner -- some that i remember --

UKM/D- Ugly Kid's Mom/Dad
SMG - smelly guy
DC\DD- drunk chick, drunk dick

there are a number of them --- not sure how they were used though
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