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Injured by a frustrated captive orca? There’s a code for that.

The updated list of ICD-10 (International Classification of Diseases) medical codes used by doctors and hospitals includes listings for “bitten by orca,” “struck by orca,” and “other contact with orca” and differentiates between initial and subsequent attacks.

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Of course, we all know that the codes aren’t for encounters with wild orcas. There is only one case in history in which a human was hurt during an encounter with an orca in nature. But SeaWorld’s own records contain 600 pages of incident reports documenting dangerous and unanticipated orca behavior with trainers, consisting of more than 100 incidents in which they bit, rammed, lunged at, pulled, pinned, and swam aggressively with SeaWorld trainers, many of which led to human injuries. Captive orcas have killed four people.

When attacks on humans by a small group of captive animals become so frequent that the medical community has to change its documentation system, isn’t that a clear enough indicator that something is terribly wrong?

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