The EMT Lingo Quiz


By: Robin Tyler

6 Min Quiz

Image: Zero Creatives/Cultura/Getty Images

About This Quiz

There is no denying that the world of an emergency medical technician is fast-paced, full of action and without a doubt, very stressful. Every day, these women and men serve their communities, helping patients in various levels of distress.

It could be the kid from down the street who has scraped his knee falling off his bike, or the teen with a broken leg thanks due to a skateboard accident. Or perhaps its the elderly neighbor that has suffered a heart attack or stroke.  In those serious situations, the emergency medical technician has to make some crucial decisions, often in the spur of the moment. And they need to get it right because lives are at stake.

In this fast-paced world, communication between emergency medical technicians is key. They certainly don't have the time to have long conversations when under pressure and so they have developed their own lingo. This not only comprises acronyms but slang words as well. Some are used in the heat of the moment while others are used in general chit chat between EMT's. 

So how many examples of EMT lingo do you think you would be able to identify?

Go ahead and take the quiz and let's find out!

In the world of medical emergencies, what does "ALS" mean?

Advanced Life Support is the care given to a patient by paramedics prior to transporting them to the hospital. This is different from basic or intermediate life support as ALS paramedics are able to administer drugs where needed.


If an EMT says someone is a "code yellow", what does this slang term mean?

A code yellow is a patient who has lost control of his or her bladder. Sadly, when accidents or trauma is involved, this can be a reaction, especially if the patient is in shock.


When a patient is referred to as a "beemer" what are they?

"Beemer" is slang for an obese patient. The name comes from BMI (body mass index), which measures body fat based on height and weight.


Normally found on patient forms, what does "LOC" mean?

"LOC" refers to two phrases in general in the EMT world. These are either loss of consciousness or level of consciousness. This is usually written on forms to describe a patient’s condition.


EMTs might call a certain patient a "pita". What does that mean in EMT slang?

A "pita" is simply a pain in the ass. This is a slang word used by medical professionals to describe a patient or relative who is difficult to deal with.


A person said to be "DRT" is described by which of these EMT slang terms below?

“Dead Right There”, a slang description for a dead person who has been left in the position in which they were found. Often, in the case of homicide, the body will be left this way until police forensics are done with the scene.


Which of these below would "crackardia" be most applicable to?

"Crackacardia" is EMT lingo for a condition when a patient has ingested large amounts of crack cocaine, causing their heart rate to increase. They need to get to the hospital fast!


A patient said to have "Googlechondria" has done what?

It's relatively easy to work out what "Googlechondria" is. Simply put, it's a condition named by EMT where patients self-diagnose their condition, signs and symptoms using Google before seeking medical assistance.


If an EMT was "bagging" a patient, what would they be doing?

"Bagging" is using a “Bag Valve Mask” to provide positive pressure ventilation to patients who are not breathing adequately. This is to ensure they have enough oxygen in their system.


In the world of medical emergencies, what does "BLS" mean?

Basic Life Support it the care that can be provided to victims of illnesses or injuries by EMTs until they can be attended to at a hospital.


From the options below, which best describes an "MVA" as a way a patient may have been injured?

Helping patients injured in an accident is just part of an EMT's every day duties. They would describe the patient as have been in an "MVA" or motor vehicle accident. This is also sometimes called a "MVC" or motor vehicle collision.


When an EMT refers to a "C-Spine" what are they talking about?

The "C-Spine" refers to the cervical spine (or neck), which comprises the seven vertebrae C1 – C7. It also houses the spinal cord. It is not only strong but flexible as well.


A "Frequent Flyer" is a term often used by EMT's. Who does it refer to?

A "Frequent Flyer" is a person who often calls for emergency medical assistance. This could be someone who abuses the system or someone with a persistent condition that requires regular assistance.


When talking about a "MICU" in the world of emergency medicine, what are we referring to?

"MUCUs" or Mobile Intensive Care Unit are vehicle fitted out with apparatus able to offer advanced life support to patients en route to the hospital. This offers critically injured patients a greater chance of survival.


An "AED" is a crucial piece of emergency equipment. What is it?

An "AED" or Automated External Defibrillator is a portable device used to check heart rhythm and treat sudden cardiac arrest. This piece of equipment is nothing short of a life-saver.


If an EMT says someone is a "code brown", what does this slang term mean?

A "Code Brown" is used to describe fecal incontinence and is often used by medical staff when asking for help in cleaning up an unexpected bowel movement that a patient might have had.


What is a "donorcycle" in EMT lingo?

A "donorcycle" is an overpowered motorcycle that could turn its rider into an organ donor. Motorcycle accidents largely result in head trauma and less damage to the body, making the victim a good candidate for organ donation.


If EMT's mention the world "liver mortis", what do they mean?

"Liver mortis" is a term used to describe blood pooling in the lower half of the body, causing a red discoloration. It can be a sign that the patient cannot be revived.


EMT's might mention a latin sounding term, "dyscopia". What do you think it means?

Dyscopia is a mock-Latin term meaning failure to cope. It refers to patients or relatives who have a hard time emotionally. It could even apply to EMT's struggling emotionally.


Someone suffering from "NPS" is probably a ______?

"NPS" or New Parent Syndrome is a code that medical professionals use to describe new parents who are overly concerned with their baby’s health.


When a patient is described as a "failure to fly", what does it mean in terms of EMT lingo?

"Failure to Fly" describes a patient who is not well enough to be discharged from hospital. Sometimes it is also a macabre reference to a suicide attempt.


"FTD" is an abbreviation often used by EMT's. What does it mean?

"FTD" or "Failure to Die" is normally used when EMTs are talking about patients who should be dead due to their injuries but are not. It can also be used to describe elderly patients hanging onto life.


The EMT abbreviation "POPTA" stands for?

"POPTA is simply an abbreviation for patient passed out prior to arrival at the medical facility. Keeping records of everything that happens to a patient while they are transported to a medical facility is very important.


EMT's often say "TKO" when dealing with a patient with an IV line. What does it mean?

If patients are seriously injured, EMT's might setup an IV line directly into one of their veins. This is then the easiest way to administer drugs to a patient and certainly the quickest.


When an EMT calls for a "C-Collar", what do they want?

A "C-Collar" or cervical collar is a piece of equipment that is used to stabilize the neck of a patient. It is used when patients have suspected c-spine injuries.


A patient described as "A&O X 3" is which of the following?

"A&O X 3" means alert and oriented times three. This says the patient is alert and oriented around person, place and time and means they know who they are, where they are and the time period.


Can you please tell us what a "Code 99" is?

In EMT lingo, a "Code 99" is serious business. If issued it means a medical emergency is taking place with a patient requiring resuscitation. In many cases, they may be the victim of a heart attack.


What is a "doctart"?

A little controversial but some people love doctors! A "Doctart" is said to be a female patient or nurse who are attracted to doctors. It seems EMT's have a word for just about anything.


In EMT lingo terms, what does "ETOH" refer to?

"ETOH" is an acronym for Ethyl Alcohol (also referred to as Ethanol), the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages. So if a EMT says "we have an ETOH" then it means the person is most likely drunk.


Any idea what the EMT acronym "PERRLA" means?

"PERRLA" is an acronym for Pupils are Equal, Round and Reactive to Light and Accommodation. It helps medical staff remember what to check for when examining pupils. It also give a sense of if the patient knows what is going on around them.


EMTs who say they need to "Treat and Street" a patient will be doing what to them?

The term "Treat and Street" means the patient does not have serious injuries, can be treated on scene and then discharged without needing to go to a hospital. For example, someone might have fallen and badly scraped their knee. It requires a dressing but not a hospital visit.


If an EMT is called a "Paragod" by others, which of these best describes him or her?

. A "Paragod" is a paramedic who thinks they know everything or is more concerned with his/her ego than patients.


A patient said to be "status dramaticus" is ______?

A patient that is "status dramaticus" is saddled with a supposed illness which makes them overbearing and overly dramatic.


Which EMT vehicle is known as a "box"?

"MUCUs" or Mobile Intensive Care Unit are vehicles fitted with apparatus able to offer advanced life support to patients. Because of their shape, they are often just referred to as a "box".


When EMT's place multiple patients in a "triage" order, what does that mean?

When multiple patients are involved, for instance at a massive pile-up on the highway, they are assessed and placed in a triage order. Those with life-threatening injuries (called red patients in triage) are dealt with first while those with scrapes and bruises (called green patients) are dealt with last.


Explore More Quizzes

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!