The International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision, Clinical Modification, better known as the ICD-9-CM, is a health care classification system that hospitals currently use in order to standardize morbidity and mortality statistics and better streamline reimbursement systems.

Now that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services proposed a replacement of such an acclaimed and awfully easy-to-use protocol with the creatively-titled ICD-10-CM, I, as the reader's most front-line medical reporter and physician with over nine months of on-the-job experience, am ethically obligated to break news of this organizational overhaul.

Although sources tell me that this next round of medical coding saves even more time for doctors and billing departments, little has been released with regard to the brand new collection of more than 60,000 easy-to-remember diagnostic codes.

After extensively combing through this awe-inspiring ICD-10 coding system, I will now offer the reader an in-depth analysis of the Top Five Diagnoses That You Absolutely Do Not Want To Have Happen To You, Ever.*

W22.02XD -- Walked into lamppost, subsequent encounter

While walking into lamppost, initial encounter is well-defined in medical literature as a curable condition commonly associated with alcohol use or blindness, little is known about subsequent infection rates of this pesky disease.

Case studies demonstrate that while these well-lit posts are mostly endemic to neighborhood streets, basketball courts and chain-store parking lots, they are beginning to sprout in places that survivors of previous lamppost trauma least suspect: that is, right in front of them.

"This is getting ridiculous," complained lamppost survivor Mr. A from Dearborn, MI.

"I can't even enjoy a good dinner without knockin' into one of those things."

Scientists are currently researching why these lampposts preferentially infect those previously exposed and how these patients may better prevent themselves from future lamppost-related injuries.

Y93D1 -- Stabbed while crocheting

To the reader who is unaware of this violent and bloody sport known as Crocheting (cro·chet·ing (-shng), it is defined as "three rounds of two-minute cage-fighting using only needles and yarn as weaponry."

Although made illegal in most U.S. municipalities, underground croch-fighting has been rampant in Southwestern border towns for many years. This has only recently resurfaced as a national issue after a pro-footbal player was infamously found holding such fights in the basement of his Laredo mansion.

V91.07XA -- Burn due to water-skis on fire, initial encounter/ V9037XA -- Submersion due to falling or jumping from crushed water skis

As water is universally known to be the most flammable liquid naturally found on our planet, burn injuries due to flaming water-skis are some of the most common patient complaints that physicians receive on a day-to-day basis.

So instead of droning on about the pathophysiology of such an obvious injury, I want to take this opportunity to warn the reader about the unbridled medical fraud surrounding this medical diagnosis.

Auditors have already busted several rings of healthcare providers who have double-billed insurance companies for a single water-skiing injury. That is, they seek reimbursement for not only treating a patient's injuries from the typical burning water-skis but also for the sustained injuries caused by jumping off the newly-crushed water-skis as they sink into oblivion.

Sources close to the recently-commissioned and extremely secretive ICD-11 committee tell me that the newest diagnostic code in the works defined as "swimming to nearest boat as to avoid further injury from burning water-skis" may further exacerbate this billing quandary. Only time will tell.

W59.22XD -- Struck by turtle, subsequent encounter.

Due to a string of nuclear disasters in the late 80's that sparked a migratory wave of radiated turtles to the sewers of New York City in the early 90's, reptilian assaults on innocent human victims were endemic in the Northeastern United States for nearly two decades. Now that the New York State Department of Health has made it illegal to litter pizza and nunchucks into gutters and manholes, injury and death by turtle has been at an all-time low for the past several years.

Until now.

Based on several recent sightings, these humanoid turtles are back at it again -- and this time, with a vengeance. As reported by veteran medical journalist April O'neil, "Until this new wave of 'turtle power' is controlled, hospitals and store-front clinics alike will once again be forced to prepare for a string of toothless bites and shell-shocked patients."

Y34 -- Unspecified event, undetermined intent

If the reader must retain any of the vital information exquisitely laid out to you before your very eyes, I beg you to take this particular diagnosis most seriously.

A rogue collection of researchers, unjustly exiled from the scientific community for crimes they did not commit, have just recently discovered this highly contagious disease in certain Amazoninian tribal populations and specific Nordic genepools.

Says principal investigator Dr. Natalie Stevens-Bergson, "We aren't even close to figuring out why or how this happens. All we know is that it happens."

While phase I vaccine trials are in the works, it is highly recommended by expert committees to enjoy time with family and friends, pursue your biggest dreams, and find the love of your life before code Y34 reaches your city limits.

* Yes, the actual diagnostic code descriptions themselves are entirely factual; however the rest of this article including names and events are fabricated and should not be taken as real medical news.
Brian Secemsky, M.D.

Medical writing for patients, students
and practitioners.

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