Hoping the worst-case scenario doesn’t come to pass

A few years ago, NPR and American RadioWorks ran a story on the consequences to New Orleans of a Category 5 hurricane [NPR part 1] [NPR part 2]. I had been hoping that the city would escape the worst-case scenario of the water topping the levees and submerging the city in twenty feet of water, but yesterday's levee breaches appear to have taken us one step closer...

As you probably know, I'm fascinated by language, particularly the slang terms of various professions, such as the rich acronym soup of the emergency medical field (my sick favorite being "CTD"). In the hurricane story, we hear the director of emergency management use the acronym KYAGB, which stands for "Kiss your..."

Comments (15)
  1. Tim Smith says:

    When the hurricane went to the East of New Orleans, I thought we would get luckly. For those who don’t know, the worst of a hurricane heading north is to the east of the eye due to the winds causing the nasty storm surge.


  2. Dave Solimini says:

    here’s a couple that i’ve heard from family members who work in ERs:

    GOMER: Get Out of My Emergency Room

    FLK: Funny Lookin Kid

    PVC: Person Vs. Car

  3. YellowSpottycat says:

    Like if they were not warned beforehand…

    "What if Hurricane Ivan Had Not

    Missed New Orleans?" — Natural Hazards Observer, Vol. XXIX No. 2 November 2004


    NEW ORLEANS IS SINKING — Popular Mechanics, September 11, 2001


  4. Dan McCarty says:

    IANAL (linguist), but there were some "doctor slang" news items a while back:



  5. Miles Archer says:

    I knew a guy who was consulting on a new computer system for paramedics. They wanted to call it Emergency Medical System or EMSYS for short. After the paramedics stopped laughing they had to explain that emesis (pronounced the same) means vomit.

    (googling, there seems to be a medical school system with the same name. What jokers)

  6. memet says:

    Oh my…

    My favorite is by far NFN – aka "Normal for Norfolk" – (genetic quirks or inbreeding).

  7. Cooney says:

    They wanted to call it Emergency Medical System or EMSYS for short.

    That appeals to me somehow. Of course, I name my machines after Norse gods…

  8. Matt says:

    My favorite from a friend of mine who worked on an ambulance was DRT.

    DRT = Dead Right There

  9. rob says:

    I always liked LGFD

    "Looks Good From the Door" someone who didn’t have very long and was just generally falling apart.

  10. Roger says:

    Apologies for the profanity, but here’s my favourite from Austrlian ED (Emergency Department)

    TF Bundy…. (Totaly fucked but unfortunately not dead yet).

    A popular one with us all, especially drunk drivers on the surgery table.

  11. Tim Dawson says:

    The impending disaster in the Canary islands will devastate much of the eastern coastline of north America. I wonder how prepared everybody is for that emergency, or if many people even know about it.

    Again, it’s a question of when, not if.

  12. Chris says:

    If New Orleans is built below sea level, can it ever become unflooded? Sounds like "flooded" is the natural steady state for the region formerly known as New Orleans.

  13. Brian says:

    Tidal wave threat ‘over-hyped’



  14. Adam says:

    New Orleans is built below sea level, and it does not drain at all to my knowledge. However, they have a system of levees to keep the water out from the mississipi, and also a number of turbines to drain rain water from the city. Those turbines were the plan to drain the city before the hurricane, but they drain something like 1 inch an hour. The breaches need to be fixed first for any draining, and I would bet power needs to be restored for the turbines.

  15. just this guy says:

    An EMT friend of mine says that EMTs or paramedics who are dealing with an unruly patient in an ambulance will sometimes ask the driver for a BFR: a Bumpy F–kin’ Ride. Apparently the driver can raise or lower the suspension on a whim.

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