To the Editor.
—I was asked to see a patient recently who had received a diagnosis I did not understand. The patient, a 50-year-old man with abdominal pain, had been evaluated thoroughly by an emergency department physician and had also been seen by a surgeon. The diagnosis given by the resident surgeon was "not a surgical abdomen" and an internal medicine consultation was recommended.What is meant by "not a surgical abdomen"? Because I had seen this diagnosis before, signed by both resident and staff surgeons, I thought it appropriate to investigate what seemed to me to be a new disease. After consulting major surgical textbooks with no success, I conducted a computerized search of the biomedical literature with the aid of a medical librarian. I couldn't find any reports of this diagnosis, nor could I find a diagnosis related group or International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision code for