n. A person with unknown ailments or who is not responding to treatment.
A doctor sometimes will refer to a patient with unknown ailments as a "gork." It's an acronym that stands for "God only really knows," according to a recent "On Language" column in The New York Times Magazine.
—“Help yourself,” Orlando Sentinel, August 22, 1996
I might also point out that GORK derives from the patient whose mental status is unknown to the physician, unknown to the patient — God only really knows.
—“Decoding What the Doctor Says,” The New York Times, December 21, 1980
1972 (earliest)
A Rehabilitation Centre:— The goals are different again in a rehabilitation centre that I visited. Although the professional staff working there would like to see their patients recover completely, they seem resigned to a more modest achievement. Their aims are to rehabilitate a person to the limits of his capacity. Then he is discharged. Goals are tailored more or less to the individual patient. and they are nearly always judiciously set within his reach. The therapists feel for the most part that they are really doing something for the patient. "Gork" is largely an unknown expression. It is only when for one reason or another a CVA patient has to be kept on after he has plateaued that frustration and "nothing can be done" appears.
—Joan Eakin Hoffmann, “'Nothing Can Be Done"': Social Dimensions of the Treatment of Stroke Patients in a General Hospital,” McGill University, December 01, 1972
Filed Under