Thursday, July 26, 2012

No Code Today - Why Isn't There a Code for Struck by Cat?

Meet Jake
Meet Jake.  I can't see your reaction, but I've introduced enough people to Jake that I can pretty much guess.  You were immediately drawn in by his beautiful blue eyes and unusual coloring (he's a blue point Himalayan mix).  He is, without a doubt, one of the most gorgeous cats I've ever seen.  A select few of you - those who really pay attention to detail have zeroed in on  his tag - a skull and cross bones with the words "Bad Kitty."  Some of you have a phobia of cats and were immediately disturbed to see him when you opened up my blog this morning.  I am never one to encourage phobias of cats because I think they're awesome.  But in this case you should be afraid.  Very afraid.  You see, Jake is evil.

Cue intro to "Bad to the Bone" music.

Jake is a rescue.  He was a stray who was pulled off the dangerous streets of a Denver suburb when I adopted him at about 5 months old.  I was immediately smitten!  And let's just say he knew how to get adopted.  He snuggled and purred and then showed off his playful spirit and we were on our merry way.  And then Jake didn't purr again for about 4 years.  As it turned out, he was a manipulative little jerk whose favorite game is ambush.  And I am his favorite target.

I've worked with Jake over the years and now I consider him somewhat of a miracle cat.  The miracle is that he's lived with me for 8 years and I haven't killed him yet.  I lovingly refer to him as my little jerk, but he does have a softer side - thanks in large part to another very even-tempered cat who has shown him how to be civil.  When no one is looking, he's a total mama's boy.

But as he gets older, Jake gets a little more nervous.  He doesn't like crowds and I like to entertain, so Christmas dinner with my entire family resulted in my grandmother getting bitten.  And lately I've had a tendency to drop things on top of his food bowls while I am getting kibble out of the pantry.  In 2 out of the last 3 times, he ended up biting me.  Last night when I dropped something, I immediately reached my hand out to console him and didn't get attacked.  It's true - people don't train cats, cats train people.

So this morning when I opened my eyes and thought, "what will I blog about today?" I focused on Jake and remembered the last scars he left.  A few weeks ago he hit the back of my legs with such force that he not only left bite marks, he left impact bruises. 

And I headed to my encoder. 

You see, there are many external cause codes (what we call E codes in ICD-9-CM) for being struck by animals.  But as I soon found out, there is no code for being struck by a cat.  What?! I double checked.  Yes, there is struck by dog, struck by horse, struck by raccoon (?!), struck by cow, struck by other hoof stock, struck by alligator, struck by pig, struck by dolphin, and struck by various types of specific birds (what the heck is a psittacine anyway?!) - but no code for struck by a cat. 

I suppose it sounds silly - to be struck by a little pussy cat.  But I have to tell you that 13 pounds of force from a cat with a purpose can definitely leave a mark.  And while I can assign a code for the bite - W55.01xA, Bitten by cat, initial encounter - there is no code for the striking part.  Which I find incomprehensible.  Perhaps I should write a letter to the Coordination and Maintenance Committee...

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