ICD-10 codes are used for medical billing purposes all over the world. If you limp into a healthcare facility with a broken ankle, there’s a code for that. If you catch the flu, there’s a code for that, too. Most of these codes are pretty standard fare for the medical field, and cover a wide array of illnesses, injuries, procedures, and other things.
ICD-10 was implemented in the United States on October 1, 2015 and has over 70,000 codes, which is a huge upgrade from ICD-9’s base of 14,000 codes. The code base for ICD-10, due to its sheer size, can be so granular in certain areas and includes some pretty wacky codes if you look closely enough.
There are many codes in ICD-10 pertaining to animal encounters, and the list of animals is fairly extensive. For example, a code exists for someone who may have been struck by a macaw (W61.12XA), which is impressive since many macaws are endangered. Personally, as a sea turtle enthusiast, I find the code set for “Contact with turtles” especially charming.
Struck by turtle seems pretty vague to me. Is this being hit by a turtle that was thrown in your direction? A more interesting theory is that maybe you were hit by a car that was being driven by a turtle? Or perhaps your injury was the result of an unfortunate run-in with certain ninja turtles.
Admittedly, I am not sure what “other contact with turtle” covers, but a good guess is it’s anything that isn’t a bite or being struck by one and that ends in injury.
There is a code for Abraham Lincoln as well: Y92.253 Opera house as the place of occurrence of the external cause.
It’s easy to imagine when one might use some of these outlandish codes, such as being pecked by a chicken or bitten by a cow. Farmers and those who keep livestock will likely understand the need for these codes, even if their use is not as widespread as a code for a broken ankle.
Perhaps even deep sea divers or tourists looking to swim with dolphins will appreciate the inclusion of codes for being struck by sea lions, sharks, or stingrays. One code related to water-based injuries that seems highly improbable and equally funny is this one: V91.07XD Burn due to water-skis on fire, subsequent encounter. I would love to know if this code was included by popular demand, or if this was supposed to be a joke. I’d also love to know what circumstances lead to jet skis catching on fire.
Some codes would apply to such a small minority of people, it is curious why they were included at all, such as prolonged stay in weightless environment, initial encounter (X52.XXXA). Other codes are relatable to anyone who is married, such as problems in relationship with in-laws (Z63.1). This code hopefully refers to the psychological injuries inflicted by in-laws, but physical injuries are not out of the question. Avid hobbyists may need the code for stabbed while crocheting (Y93.D1), though it is unclear if the stab wound must be inflicted by a crochet needle, or if this might also include violent home invasions while crocheting.
No matter how funny some of these codes can be, they all serve to demonstrate just how complex and deep the ICD-10 system really is. The world of healthcare is ever-evolving and people will always find interesting, new ways to hurt themselves.
Samantha Lewis, Taxonomist