One-word Conditions & What They Mean

A patient’s condition is based on a medical evaluation performed by doctors and nurses. No one other than the health care professionals directly involved in the patient’s care is in a position to accurately provide that evaluation. To insure accuracy, we ask that members of the media refrain from reporting a patient condition based solely on information provided by law enforcement and other non-medical personnel.

A member of the Media Relations team is available to obtain condition updates around-the-clock. To request a patient’s condition, call (205) 638-9100 and ask to page the Media Relations representative on call. Your call will be returned immediately.

Children’s follows the Alabama Hospital Association’s guidelines for reporting patient conditions as follows:

  • Good – Vital signs are stable, prognosis is good, patient is conscious and comfortable
  • Fair – Vital signs are stable, prognosis is good, patient is conscious but may be uncomfortable
  • Serious – Vital signs are unstable, prognosis is questionable and patient is acutely ill
  • Critical – Vital signs are unstable, prognosis is not favorable and major complications exist
  • Undetermined – Patient’s condition has not yet been fully evaluated and is awaiting physician assessment
  • Deceased – If a patient’s parent/legal guardian has not requested anonymity and the next of kin have been notified, the hospital may confirm the death of a patient. However, the cause, date or time of death may not be disclosed. Most requests for information regarding a death should be addressed to the county coroner.

Only the one-word condition should be used in reporting and should never be used with qualifiers such as “very serious” or “extremely critical.”  Also, we ask that the condition report not be combined with details of the patient’s illness or injury in such a way that it appears that those details were supplied by Children’s.