Physicists don’t just use bad writing to keep us from understanding what they’re doing. They’re also using jargon to prevent us from hearing what they’re doing. Medical terms are often ironic and used to describe certain amusing medical situations. Some are used to cover more derogatory or disrespectful comments. And then there is a separate category of words used to characterize the state of dying patients, mask controversial medical procedures from their families, or simply refer to the annoying traits of family members.
Slow code is a purposely poor attempt to revive a dying person. Doctors on a sluggish code will not undertake all the life-saving operations they should do. If they do, they do it slowly, anticipating that the patient will be dead before they are finished. The slow code is always the product of problems in communicating the state of the patient to their family.
It is often said that several doctors urge people not to encourage their families and friends to require surgery in teaching hospitals in July. It’s because of what doctors call the July effect. Each July, new grads from medical schools return to work as students in teaching hospitals. Their lack of experience means that they often make mistakes. Lots of errors, which cause an unprecedented increase in the number of patients.
The theory is that every other person is more likely to see a horse than a zebra, except perhaps if you live somewhere within the African savannah or in some wildlife park. Rare and common illnesses often have similar symptoms, and a physician may possibly misdiagnose symptoms of a common illness as rare. So the saying allows doctors to believe that the symptoms are caused by a common disease, not a rarer one.