Struck By Turtle? There’s a Code for That!

The Wall Street Journal reported this month that doctors and hospitals will soon have a myriad of new medical services codes to chose from to describe their patient’s maladies. When it takes effect October 1st, 2013, this federally mandated *upgrade* prescribed by the ICD-10 (the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision) will ramp up medical practicioners’ choices from a current code count estimated at 18,000 ills to an astronomical 140,000. Are there that many ways to get sick?

The ICD-10 thinks so. Under the expanded code, for example, there are at least 9 ways a turtle can land you in the hospital:

Bitten by turtle, initial encounter
Bitten by turtle, subsequent encounter
Bitten by turtle, sequela
Struck by turtle, initial encounter
Struck by turtle, subsequent encounter
Struck by turtle, sequela
Other contact with turtle, initial encounter
Other contact with turtle, subsequent encounter
Other contact with turtle, sequela

If you are curious what other FOX-worthy “When Animals Attack!” encounters made the cut, consider W5622XA (Struck by orca), W5552XA (Struck by raccoon), and W6162XA (Struck by duck). Clearly, the great outdoors is a scary place.

The WSJ has been so kind as to cobble together a code-querier, A Code for What Ails You, a veritable choose-your-own-misadventure-Mad Lib of Saturday morning cartoon pitfalls-cum-pratfalls. Let your imagination run wild – the ICD-10 certainly did…


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