The ICD-10 transition is no secret - pretty much everyone is aware that the coding system is longer, more specific, and due to happen 1 October 2015. In preparation for that, we thought we’d take a look at some of the “less domesticated” codes out there. Without further ado, here are some of the wildest diagnoses you might come across in your private practice...
Here’s an interesting thought: when most people think of lions, they’re probably picturing Simba (or the man-eating Tsavo lions of 19th century fame). According to the new ICD-10 codes, however, the only lion you might encounter is of the marine variety. Should you happen to be struck by a sea lion (W56.12XA) or bitten by one (W56.11XA), rest assured that your medical billing codes will work out alright...and don’t go climbing over the fence at Sea World again!
Moving from the marine environment to a desert one, the Gila monster is one of the few venomous lizards native to the United States, and they’ve got a toxic bite. Instead of injecting venom like snakes do, “Gilas latch onto victims and chew to allow neurotoxins to move through grooves in their teeth and into the open wound.” This sounds pretty painful, but thankfully there’s a code for that: T63.111A (toxic effect of venom of Gila monster, accidental)!
A more benign and slightly less toxic injury is getting pecked by a chicken (W61.33XA). People at risk for this injury are city-slickers visiting farms and children chasing neighborhood birds. Simply collecting eggs for your breakfast might expose you to the terrible wrath of the mighty chicken guarding its progeny...though it’s not likely. Sadly, ICD-10 coding has not caught up with the dictionary when it comes to unfortunate henpecked souls.
Moving back into the realm of the serious, this is a rather gruesome chain of medical diagnosis coding: external causes of morbidity → exposure to animate mechanical forces → contact with non-venomous marine animal → contact with orca. When enough people have died from contact with a killer whale to make an ICD-10 code about it (W56.2), it may be time to assess human proximity to these wild animals.
On that note, let’s finish with a humorous look at the mantis shrimp, which The Oatmeal has been good enough to share with the world. You may not have ever heard of this animal because human contact with it is rare...which seems like a good thing after reading the infographic! We might even suppose that mantis shrimp - human contact is so rare that there is no need for its own code! Thank goodness for that!