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Dublin: 5 °C Wednesday 29 January, 2020
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Medical emergency! There's a Father Jack on ward three

Doctors are naming troublesome patients after foul-mouthed Fr Jack Hackett, a list of hospital slang reveals.

Father Jack lives on as a nickname on hospital wards
Father Jack lives on as a nickname on hospital wards
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

CONFUSED, LOUD AND elderly? If you’re on a hospital ward, the doctors may be calling you ‘Father Jack’ behind your back.

Health professionals in the UK are using the name of the drink-sodden Father Ted character, played by Frank Kelly, to describe a certain type of hospital dweller. A Father Jack is “the confused, usually elderly patient whose constant high-pitched verbal ejaculation and attempts to get out of bed are responsible for insomnia on the wards”, according to a list of slang in the British Medical Journal.

Alternatively, you might be a Hasselhoff – the name inflicted on patients with bizarre explanations for their injuries. (In 2006, the Hoff’s publicist said that he had severed a tendon in his arm after hitting his head on a chandelier while shaving.)

The doctors themselves get off with slightly more flattering names. A Fonzie is a medic who stays calm even in emergencies, while a Jack Bauer is anybody who has been working for 24 hours straight. A Ringo, however, is “an expendable member of  a team”.

Read Paul Keeley’s full list of slang in the BMJ here >

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Michael Freeman

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