Peter A. Ubel, "Dose Response," The Sciences, November/December 1999
In the inside lingo of the medical profession, a tern is an intern; to buff up means to prepare a patient for discharge (''The Sultan of Frogmore needs that bed; buff this guy up and send him home.''); a gomer a gomer is a patient (often called a player ) who is whining and otherwise undesirable. The term is said to be an acronym for ''Get Out of My Emergency Room,'' but may originate in ''gomeral,'' Scottish dialect for simpleton, influenced by the television hillbilly Gomer Pyle.
Paul Horvits, a Times colleague who has a friend in medical school, passed along many of these terms. He adds that the dwindles is medical jargon for advancing years leading to death from old age; a bounceback is a recidivist patient, or one who keeps coming back to the hospital; to flatline is to expire, a verb taken from the lack of activity on the scope measuring vital signs; fascinoma is any interesting disease, and fluids and electrolytes is the beer, wine and other booze that interns and nurses head for after too many players are boxed or lost.
William Safire, "On Language," The New York Times, November 9, 1980