Beware of the flying turtle

Published 7:13 am Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Honestly, you can’t make this stuff up, no matter how hard you try.

After a long week stretched over the last few days of May, including a 16-hour marathon here at the office on Memorial Day of all days, I needed a good laugh. I got one on Friday in what appeared to be another “ho-hum” email.

This electronic message came from the Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC). I opened it for three reasons….I’m an American; I’m mature; and curiosity got the best of me.

At the top of their news release were these words… “Obamacare is ‘slapstick comedy worthy of the Keystone Kops.’ It’s progressive ideology, including the new diagnostic code in the law for accidents caused when your skis catch fire.”

Say what….did it just say that skis can catch fire? Is that water or snow skis? I guess it doesn’t matter what surface one has chosen to ski upon….the thought of snow or water on fire just wouldn’t register in my mind.

Let’s read more!

Be prepared to describe to your doctor just what type of injury you sustained from your pet Macaw when Obamacare takes full effect; it seems you must use one of nine specific Macaw codes to report the incident to the government, according to Dan Weber, president of the AMAC.

“Senator Rand Paul, an MD, himself, pored through the 9,000 pages of new regulations and 122,000 new medical diagnostic codes in the Affordable Care Act and reported that in addition to the Macaw codes, there are two new codes for turtle accidents and two more for injuries suffered as the result of walking into a lamppost,” Weber said.

Okay, I can see someone getting injured by walking into a lamppost, but the turtle listing intrigued me to the point of finding out more about that particular listing. A search of the Web turned up a story on the same subject from the renowned Wall Street Journal.  What I stumbled across there made the skis on fire/tortoise tango appear mild.

It seems that the nation’s health care system is ramping up to implement a massive new coding system known as ICD-10. There are 18,000 such codes under the current ICD-9 system.

There is a listing (W2202XD) for a subsequent encounter of walking into a lamppost… if walking into one the first time wasn’t embarrassing enough.

The expanded medical codes for incidents involving turtles left me hurting from laughter (wonder if there’s a code for that?). There are three codes for incidents where an individual has been bitten by a turtle, but the most bizarre ones involve being struck by a turtle. I am not aware of a turtle being able to hurl him (or her) self into the air and maintain a trajectory that could result in an impact with a human. Perhaps it means a person was struck by a turtle thrown by another individual.

When I read that flying turtle listing I visualized the late, great John Belushi standing in the cafeteria of the fictional Faber College (from the movie Animal House) and yelling, “Turtle fight!”

There’s also a listing (W6132XA) for injuries sustained after being struck by a chicken. Is that fried, baked, grilled or roasted…whole, half or a quarter?

Listing # Y92253 asks for a description of how a person was….“Hurt at the opera.” How does one suffer an opera-related injury? Is it connected to an eardrum injury caused by the high-pitched voice of an opera singer? Or did the person slip and fall en route back to their seat while balancing a plate full of smoked salmon and oysters Rockefeller? Perhaps they were struck by a flying turtle.

There are 10 medical codes for injuries sustained in a mobile home. The government apparently wants to know the exact location of the injury within the home….kitchen, dining room, bedroom, or bathroom. What difference does it make….you’re injured inside a home! I could find no expanded medical listings for those who are injured in a traditional, stick-built home.

Code #T7804XA is for anaphylactic shock due to fruits and vegetables. I guess that means you become ill after eating an apple or a mess of butterbeans. Find A Code LLC links that medical code with the story of Snow White and the poison apple.

I could go on and on with this, but I think you catch my drift….it’s a case of big government wanting to expand even more and consume a larger chunk of our tax dollars.

Cal Bryant is the Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. He can be contacted at or 252-332-7207.


About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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