ER doctors, Mark Greene and Susan Lewis

Here’s some definitions to help you understand things better when you’re watching ER. 

1. ABCs – how the doctors evaluate the seriousness of a trauma victim. A for airway, B for breathing, C for circulation. 

2. Anaphylaxis – an extreme allergic reaction, usually involves heart failure and difficulty breathing. 

3. Aneurysm – when blood swells up in the wall of an artery, aneurysms can burst and be catastrophic. 

4. Angioplasty – a common heart procedure, where a balloon is inflated inside the artery to increase blood flow. 

5. Bagging – a manual procedure to help somebody breathe, using a handheld squeezy bag and a face mask. 

6. Blood culture – when a blood sample is incubated, so the bacteria can multiply and be tested.

7. Bounceback – a patient who comes back to hospital, with the same complaint, shortly after being discharged. 

8. Code brown – when a patient doesn’t make it to the bathroom in time…

9. Crasher – somebody who passes out in the ER. Not usually a patient, but a loved one who is shocked or overwhelmed emotionally.

10. Cyanosis – a blush to the skin, usually appears when there isn’t enough oxygen in the blood. 

11. Defibrillation – the act of restoring the heart to its normal rhythm. 

12. DNR – do not resuscitate. 

13. ECG – electrocardiogram, used to measure heart activity. 

14. EEG – electroencephalogram, a test used to record electrical patterns in a patient’s brain. 

15. Edema – an excessive build-up of fluid.

16. Endoscope – a long, bendy tube with a light on the end of it, used for internal observation. 

17. Haemorrhage – dramatic and sudden loss of blood. 

18. Hypertension – severe high blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease and strokes. 

19. Intubation – inserting a plastic tube into the trachea, to help an unconscious person breathe. 

20. IV – intravenous, meaning through the vein. 

21. Lumbar puncture – withdrawing fluid from the spine, through a hollow needle. Also referred to as a spinal tap. 

22. MRI – magnetic resonance imaging i.e taking a picture of somebody’s insides using strong magnetic fields and radio frequencies. 

23. Myopathy – disease of the muscles, which reduces their strength and function. 

24. Tachycardic – when a person’s heart rate exceeds a normal resting rate, usually over 100 beats per minute. 

25. Triage – system used to prioritise patients in an emergency. 

26. Veinpuncture – standard procedure of drawing blood from a vein, for testing purposes. 

27. Wheezer – a patient that has asthma, or difficulty breathing.