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ICD-10 for Thanksgiving: America's Most Dangerous Holiday

By: Nextech | November 25th, 2019

ICD-10 for Thanksgiving: America's Most Dangerous Holiday Blog Feature

Thanksgiving is upon us once more… and you probably have no idea how much danger we are all in.

Thanksgiving is not just a day that gives us an excuse to stuff our faces until we fall into a food coma (though it is most definitely that, as well), but it is also America's most dangerous holiday. That’s not a joke. Most people see it as a perfectly harmless “Turkey Day,” but Thanksgiving actually has a casualty rate that’s higher than any other observed national holiday, including the Fourth of July and even New Year’s Eve. So, there you have it… now you have something new and unexpected to be terrified about!

It is in observance of this, our most dangerous of holidays, that we offer this blog of ICD-10 codes, just in case our readers might need a refresher on coding the aftermath of injuries that occur when the festivities get a little out of hand for your patients.

V89.2XXA – Person injured in unspecified motor vehicle accident, traffic, initial encounter

Before people even get to where they are going, they are in danger. A large majority of people drive to their Thanksgiving destinations, and this year traffic is expected to be the heaviest it’s been in over a decade. This holiday often sees a high number of traffic accidents, and this year will likely be no exception.

W61.42; W61.43 – Struck by turkey; Pecked by turkey

If you are one of those people who prefer the “old school” method for obtaining a turkey, this code is just for you. Because sometimes you may bite into a turkey, but there are also times when a turkey bites you back. But when that happens, have no fear, because ICD-10 has got you covered.


Z63.1 – Problems in relationship with in-laws

Does this one really need an explanation?

S39.92XS – Unspecified injury of the lower back

With all that bending down to pull heavy pans of turkey and other heavy foods from ovens, it is only a matter of time before Nana throws out her back. And then who’s going to finish cooking all the food? You?

X10.2XXA – Contact with fats and cooking oils, initial encounter

It happens every year. Every. Single. Year. No matter how many times people are warned about it, every Thanksgiving someone sticks a partially frozen turkey into a deep fat fryer and WHOOSH! Flash boil sends hot grease flying in all directions and likely starts a huge grease fire that sets the whole area ablaze. So, use this code for patients who are lucky enough (can you call it lucky?) to get away from it with only a few grease burns.

W40.1; W40.9 – Explosion of explosive gases; Explosion of unspecified explosive materials

In a continuation of the previous scenario, W40.9 can be applied to injuries from an explosion caused by frozen turkey being placed into a fryer. However, turkey fryer fails aren’t the only explosive thanksgiving dangers. Improper use of gas fueled appliances, such as stoves or ovens, also cause a lot of these thanksgiving explosions and house fires (but for these use W40.1, because it is specifically for gas explosions). Perhaps it should not come as a shock that Thanksgiving Day is the number one day for housefires in the U.S.

W26.0XXA – Contact with knife, initial encounter

Because turkey carving is an art form… and apparently it can be rather dangerous if you have no idea what you are doing.

A02.9 – Salmonella infection, unspecified

Some readers may remember the widespread salmonella outbreak that occurred over last year’s Thanksgiving holiday. This is why proper handling and thorough preparation are so important when it comes to turkey. Because if you do not respect the bird, the bird will not respect you… and then it will give you and your entire family food poisoning.



Even after surviving all the dangers of Thanksgiving, many people are willing to risk further harm by braving the madness of Black Friday, which (frighteningly enough) actually has a death count all its own. Luckily, ICD-10 has all the codes you need in order to treat those who are injured during all the carnage.

W03 – Fall due to non-transport collision with another person

W52.XXXA – Crushed, pushed, or stepped on by crowd or human stampede, initial encounter

Y04.0XXA – Assault by unarmed brawl or fight, initial encounter

S05.1 – Contusion of eyeball and orbital tissues


So, if anyone reading this is planning to do the Black Friday thing…. GOOD LUCK! We hope you survive all those amazing deals and make it back home in one piece!

There you have it, folks! Whether it’s a fryer failure, an exploding gas oven, an electric-carving-knife-severed finger, food poisoning or a fight over the last TV on sale, ICD-10 has all the codes you need to treat the casualties of America’s most dangerous holiday.

Everybody try to stay safe out there!

(on second thought, maybe just stay home this year... it’s safer)