In our world of medical school doctor jargon, we learn many many slang terms for patient signs and symptoms. From The House of God comes the O sign and the Q sign are two medical terms that are taught very early in one's medical school education. What is the O sign and What is the Q sign? The O sign is indicates a poor prognosis. It should carry the same weight as the APACHE score and the Apgar score. When you see the O sign, you know your patient is not going to do well.
A reader sent me a picture of their patient displaying the classic O sign. As you can see, the O sign is exactly what it says: When the mouth lays open in a perfect geometric round shape for hours at a time. Thus the name "The O sign". Taking it one step further, you also have the Q sign. As every good medical student knows, the Q sign is often indicative of impending death. While this reader didn't send me a picture of the Q sign, a little creativity would lead you to guess what it is. It is the O sign with the tongue sticking out to one side or the other, preferably to the patients left to signify the letter Q.
Both the O and the Q sign give telling signs about the patient's prognosis. If you see your family member displaying the O sign or the Q sign, call in the troops, 'cause things aren't looking well. If you're a student or a resident, it's time to appreciate these other great medical signs.