Monday, October 3, 2011

They get it right! ICD-10 Code W5609XS Other contact with dolphin, sequela

The ongoing saga of the new International Classification of Diseases, 10th revision [ICD-10] continues. ICD-10 is what every physician and hospital must use when submitting bills to various third parties. The list of codes has been expanded from 18,000 to 140,000 and some of them defy description. See other posts about getting sucked into a jet engine and drowning having fallen off burning water-skis.

In today’s episode, we investigate W5609XS Other contact with dolphin, sequela. Since this is listed as “other contact,” you may be wondering what the specific codes might be. They are as follows

W5601XA Bitten by dolphin, initial encounter
W5601XD Bitten by dolphin, subsequent encounter
W5601XS Bitten by dolphin, sequela
W5602XA Struck by dolphin, initial encounter
W5602XD Struck by dolphin, subsequent encounter
W5602XS Struck by dolphin, sequela

Having eliminated bitten or struck, I thought I was left with only my imagination to envision what “other contact with dolphin” might be. What other contact with dolphin could there be? Why would the folks at ICD-10 headquarters have put in such a code? Well, apparently they did their homework on this one.

In 2002, CNN reported that a dolphin was attempting to sexually assault female bathers on the south coast of England. A noted dolphin wrangler was unsuccessful in to trying to lure the dolphin to France. [It's unclear why France was the destination. It be related to the fact that's it's also the home of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, another alleged sexual predator.]

But the other side of the story is the recent news that a man named Malcolm Brenner has written a book about his 9-month long sexual relationship with a dolphin. The book, entitled Wet Goddess: Recollections of a dolphin lover, tells the story of his affair with “Dolly,” who interestingly is portrayed as the aggressor in the relationship. There is also a website devoted to this story. T-shirts and posters are available should you be so inclined.

Somewhat off point, but nonetheless amusing, is the unfortunate juxtaposition of an ad on’s page describing Wet Goddess. Just above the details about how to purchase the book is information on how you can buy a case of Chicken of the Sea Tuna, new or used [sic] for only $39.84.

You may recall that dolphins are known to swim with tuna and are often caught by commercial fishermen. There is controversy about the fate of dolphins ensnared in this way. Ironically, Amazon purchasers of both the book and the bargain tuna might be reading about Dolly and eating her at the same time.

You cannot make this stuff up.


Malcolm J. Brenner said...

Dolly was a bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops truncatus. The dolphins affected by tuna fishing are Pacific spotted and spinner dolphins, different species. Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, U.S. tuna fishermen must use various types of gear and procedures to minimize dolphin by-catch; those dolphins that were caught never became part of the human food chain. Other nations, however, are still not constrained from dolphin by-catch. Please look for the "dolphin safe" label on chunk light tuna before you buy it. Albacore tuna is caught by hook and line, and dolphins are not harmed in the process.

Skeptical Scalpel said...

Dear Malcolm,

Thank you for the clarification about the different varieties of dolphins.

Anonymous said...

I laughed through this entire post. Too bad I'll be crying when I have to start using ICD 10 later this year...

Skeptical Scalpel said...

Good news. Adoption of ICD-10 has been postponed indefinitely. Here's a link

Anonymous said...

I have not laughed this hard in a while. Brilliant. You know I actually read quite a few reports of dolphin sexual advances. Speaking of animals, if you should get a chance to, and enjoy a bit of silliness, I highly recommend ZeFrank's "True Facts" series if you haven't already seen them. Great bit of fun!

Kind regards.

Skeptical Scalpel said...

Veigar, thanks for letting me know you enjoyed the post and the suggestion about ZeFrank. Good stuff.

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