Hospitals, doctor's offices, clinics and nursing homes brace for a tsunami of new medical codes.

Starting Thursday, the U.S. health-care system is switching to a massive new set of codes to describe injuries and illnesses. The current diagnostic system has about 14,000 codes. The new ICD-10 system has about 68,000. If things go according to the long-delayed plan, patients shouldn't notice. But doctors, health-care providers, and just about everybody in the health system will. We noticed some pretty bizarre injury scenarios:

  • Bitten by squirrel: W53.21XA
  • Injury due to other contact with shark: W56.49
  • Walked into lamppost, initial encounter: W22.02XA
  • Person getting on or off pedal cycle injured in collision with pedestrian or animal: V10.3XXA
  • Bizarre personal appearance: R46.1
  • Assault by other hot objects, sequela: X98.8XXS
  • Injured while knitting and crocheting: Y93.D1
  • Bitten by a cow: W55.21
  • Opera house as the place where an injury occurs: Y92.253
  • Fall from or off toilet with subsequent striking against object, sequela: W18.12XS

And you can combine them. If you were struck by a golf ball in an opera house, that would be: W21.04 (struck by golf ball) with Y92.253 to designate location (in an opera house).

Bizarre medical codes

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