No, No, Don’t Let Those Balloons Pop Because You’ll Be … W59.22!!

Wed, Sep 9, 2015 --

Coding Updates, ICD-10

ICD-10 Bizarre Codes, Funny icd-10 codes, top bizarre icd-10 codes, icd-10 humor, struck by turtle

We’re counting down, waiting for the big twinkly red shoe to drop (no, wait, that’s New Year’s Eve in Key West) … anyway, while we watch the clock tick away at its ICD-10 countdown, let’s take a quick break to review my personal top ten favorite bizarre ICD-10 codes.

  1. W59.22 (Struck by turtle)

Because of the wonderful imagery that it suggests, W59.22- is my favorite ICD-10-CM code. Technically, as you know, W59.22- is not a valid code because it requires a seventh character to specify its encounter. This means you’d have to use W59.22XA (Struck by turtle, initial encounter) for when the patient is in active treatment for the dire injury he incurred by being smacked upside the head by a flying turtle. For followup care, like when the plastic surgeon removes the bandages from the patient’s nose after said turtle-smacking, there’s W59.22XD (Struck by turtle, subsequent encounter). Then, when the patient seeks treatment years later for his anosmic inability to smell caused by late effects from the old turtle-strike wound, we get to whip out W59.22XS (Struck by turtle, sequela).

  1. W61.42 (Struck by turkey)

Thanksgiving is coming! Remember this code in case SOMEONE forgets to defrost the turkey, and then SOMEONE ELSE heaves the old Butterball® across the kitchen, striking the first someone on the foot. Actually, I’m not certain W61.42- would apply if the turkey were frozen, because W61.42- is from the Exposure to Animate Mechanical Forces group of codes (W50-W64), implying that this bunch of striking things is supposed to be alive. Instead, consider W20.- (Struck by thrown, projected, or falling object) for the frozen variety.

  1. W55.22 (Struck by cow) also applies to: Gored by bull

I wouldn’t want to be gored by a bull, but I enjoy the specificity here. What happens if the provider documents that the patient was gored by a cow instead? What a conundrum — this will have us all losing sleep, worrying about whether to report W55.22-. I need to submit this question to the American Hospital Association Central Office to get definitive coding guidance. Right away.

  1. W56.52 (Struck by other fish)

Did you know that this is a thing? I like this one because it gives me the opportunity to share actual video documentation of actual people striking each other with actual other fish. While dancing.

  1. Plenty of other “Struck by” codes in the Animate Mechanical Forces group

See, what I don’t get here is why the verb “struck” is used to describe the attacking actions of this broad array of critters.

W54.1- (Struck by dog, knocked over by dog)

W55.12- (Struck by horse)

W55.42- (Struck by pig)

W55.52- (Struck by raccoon)

W56.12- (Struck by sea lion)

W56.22- (Struck by orca)

W56.42- (Struck by shark)

W58.02- (Struck by alligator)

W58.12- (Struck by crocodile)

W59.02- (Struck by nonvenomous lizards)

W59.12- (Struck by nonvenomous snake)

W61.02- (Struck by parrot)

W61.12- (Struck by macaw)

W61.22- (Struck by other psittacines)

W61.32- (Struck by chicken)

W61.52- (Struck by goose)

W61.62- (Struck by duck)

W61.92- (Struck by other birds)

When was the last time you saw nonvenomous reptiles, alligators, raccoons, and psittacines flinging themselves at random humans? Take horses, for example. Horses bite — and there’s a code for that, W55.11- (Bitten by horse). But in my not inconsiderable experience, people don’t get struck by horses that often. Do they kick you? Sure. Step on your foot? Happily and with gusto. Do we have codes for kicked and stepped on?  Noooo.

Oh, and, “Help, I’ve been struck by a psittacine,” said no emergency room patient ever. (I had to look psittacine up — it’s a bird of the parrot family.)

  1. W50.2 (Accidental twist by another person), also applies to: Twist by another person NOS

Chubby Checker would attest that there is no such thing as an accidental twist; nay, the twist is a purposeful, deliberate movement. Since this is a stressful time, with fewer than 22 days left ‘til October 1, you need to click this right now and turn your speakers way up.  I guarantee a therapeutic effect.

  1. R14.3 (Flatulence)

Did you know that flatulence is a billable code? Yes indeedy, and it doesn’t require seventh characters for encounters, either. Not needing the seventh character is a shame, though, because wouldn’t it be fun to report R14.3XXS (Flatulence, sequela) on a claim form?

Plus in true ICD-9 to ICD-10 crosswalk style, where ICD-9 has 787.3 (Flatulence eructation and gas pain), ICD-10 wants to know exactly what’s going on, with a full range of options:

  • 0, Abdominal distension (gaseous)
  • 1, Gas pain
  • 2, Eructation
  • 3, Flatulence.
  1. R46.1 (Bizarre personal appearance)

This one aptly describes some of the guys I dated in college. For that matter, I suppose I could blame my own R46.2 (Strange and inexplicable behavior) at the time as the reason I dated them.

  1. V90.27 (Drowning and submersion due to falling or jumping from burning water-skis)

Okay, I’m not saying that this one’s funny. Drowning is never funny; neither, of course, are burns. However, I don’t think anyone could deny that V90.27- may be the definitive description of the ultimate really awful day. As if it’s not bad enough that your water-skis are on fire — then you drown (or nearly drown) after you jump off them? Just let me get struck by a horse instead. Or a psittacine.

10. V29.20 (Unspecified motorcycle rider injured in collision with unspecified motor vehicles in nontraffic accident, motorcycle collision NOS, nontraffic)

All right, that’s it — no one is ever allowed again to complain that ICD-10-CM requires too much specificity in documentation! Look at this crazy code. You don’t even have to specify who was on the motorcycle that collided with what type of motor vehicle. You don’t even have to document who was on first. (Don’t forget the seventh character, though.)

Do You Have a Favorite Funny ICD-10 Code?

Y33-, maybe, or W27.4XXD, or V00.288? Or some other specimen of crazy ICD-10 humor? Tell us in the comment box below. We love to hear from you!

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Susan taught health information and healthcare documentation at the community college level for more than 20 years. She has a special love for medical language and terminology. She is passionate about ensuring accurate patient healthcare documentation through education. She has a master's degree in healthcare administration, is a certified healthcare documentation specialist, and serves as immediate past president for the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI).

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2 Comments For This Post

  1. Kim Says:

    V97.33XD Sucked into jet engine, subsequent encounter

  2. Susan Dooley Says:

    Yep, that’s a classic!

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