November 3, 2016

Problems we haven't worried about yet

Futility Closet - The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) is a list of more than 10,000 diseases and maladies that patients might present. The medical community uses it for recordkeeping — for example, a patient admitted to the hospital with whooping cough would be logged in the database with code A37. Reader Will Beattie sent me a list of some of the stranger complaints on the list:
  • Urban rabies – A821
  • Lobster-claw hand, bilateral – Q7163
  • Fall into well – W170
  • Complete loss of teeth, unspecified cause – K0810
  • Pecked by turkey – W6143
  • O’nyong-nyong fever – A921
  • Hang glider explosion injuring occupant – V9615
  • Contact with hot toaster – X151
  • Major anomalies of jaw size – M260
  • Intrinsic sphincter deficiency (ISD) – N3642
  • Underdosing of cocaine – T405X6
  • Prolonged stay in weightless environment – X52
Will says his favorite so far is “Burn due to water skis on fire – V9107.” It’s a dangerous world,” he writes. “Be safe out there.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It says something about due diligence and vigilance that someone like reader Will Beattie might consider something like "Urban rabies – A821" strange. It wasn't that long ago that most folks would think otherwise:
" In 1937 you could take a Red Car from Pomona all the way to Venice Beach. City Hall was the tallest building in L.A. The Los Angeles Bulldogs won every game and took home the American Football League championship. And in that same year, a deadly menace roamed the streets of Los Angeles County: more than 1,700 rabid dogs.
In Glendale, a collie puppy bit 18 people and 24 dogs before eventually dying of rabies. In Palos Verdes, another rabid puppy bit 37 schoolchildren before dying in a dog pound in Inglewood. Many more rabid dogs were shot dead by police officers, like the scene in To Kill A Mockingbird when Atticus Finch shoots a growling, disoriented dog coming down the street.

Los Angeles wasn’t the only American city with a rabies problem—a decade earlier, New York City had battled its own outbreak—but L.A. was one of the worst hit. At the time, the U.S. still had the “canine variant” of rabies, a strain able to spread more easily from dog-to-dog than other strains. The story of how L.A. County struggled to bring rabies under control in dogs nearly 80 years ago holds lessons for us today."

Those civic investments in public health and vector control are not as frivolous as Beattie's list would lead us to believe.