What Is The O Sign? What Is The Q Sign?

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 I cannot confirm that it is not copyright protected, I have chosen to remove it from my site.  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.

This post is for entertainment purposes only and likely contains humor only understood by those in a healthcare profession. Read at your own risk. 

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