Published September 14, 2011
| The Wall Street Journal
If you've ever been injured while falling or jumping from a burning water ski, been bitten by a sea lion, walked into a lamppost or just wounded yourself crocheting, the new code to report medical diagnoses and procedures is ready for you.
Currently, hospitals and doctors use about 18,000 codes in the bills they send insurers, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday. But a new federally-mandated version will expand that to 140,000 – and nail down what's wrong and where it happened to an astonishing degree.
Injured in a chicken coop? No problem. There's a code for that as a place of occurrence. Ditto if you get harmed in an opera house or a prison kitchen.
In all fairness, virtually all the new listings are related to traditional medical diagnoses and causes.
It's just those odd ones outside the routines of most people's daily life or experience that cause skyscraper eyebrows.
Some people, it would seem are leading much more exciting -- or clumsy -- lives.
There are codes, for example, for being crushed by an alligator, for being injured while piano playing, or while knitting and crocheting and for being bitten by an orca.
There are also entries for being hit or struck by a falling object due to an accident to a merchant ship, being struck by a chicken, falling out of a grocery cart and – perhaps a sign of the times – injuries due to a letter bomb.
And if you're a frenzied cleaner, don't worry: there's even a code for injuries sustained while vacuuming.
The new system, known as the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision, goes into effect Oct. 1, 2013.