Green’s Dictionary of Slang

croaker n.5

[crocus (metallorum) n. (1)/croak v.2 (2), i.e. a pessimistic view of the profession]

1. (US) a doctor, esp. in drug use; thus croaker joint, a hospital or a surgery; nut croaker, a psychiatrist.

[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc.
[UK]Cheshire Obs. 18 Nov. 7/5: He had been trying to ‘best the croaker,’ but the ‘croaker,’ as the doctor is styled, had got the ‘best’ so far.
[UK]‘Career of a Scapegrace’ in Leicester Chron. 10 May 12/1: There’s a stepper [i.e. treadmill] at Carnarvon [...] I must get over the croker somehow.
[UK]M. Davitt Leaves from a Prison Diary I 143: Devices resorted to by convicts [...] for the purpose of ‘taking in the croaker,’ have begot detection dodges on the doctors’ part also.
[Aus]‘Price Warung’ Tales of the Early Days 149: ‘Hansen oughter see th’ croaker,’ said Freeman.
[UK]J. Conrad Lord Jim 151: I can assure you no man could have appeared less ‘in the similitude of a corpse,’ as that half-caste croaker had put it.
[US]‘O. Henry’ ‘The Love-Philtre of Ikey Schoenstein’ Four Million (1915) 123: Tim Lacy told me he got some once from a croaker uptown.
[US]Wash. Post 11 Nov. Miscellany 3/6: The peter man [...] calls the good doctor ‘croaker.’.
[US]J. Tully Beggars of Life 22: A guy’s dyin’ up here. Tell her to send for a croaker.
[US]Irwin Amer. Tramp and Und. Sl. 57: Croaker Joint. – A physician’s office; especially that in a prison.
[US]D. Runyon ‘Breach of Promise’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 22: She [...] goes to Tarrytown to get a croaker to see if my wounds are fatal.
[UK]E. Raymond Marsh 373: On the croaker’s, or doctor’s, orders, they took him from A Hall to the hospital wing.
[US]W.R. Burnett High Sierra in Four Novels (1984) 332: Legally, I can’t practice: that’s why I’ve got these croakers.
[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 95: The most he needed was some bicarbonate of soda and a physic, not a croaker.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn) 62: croaker joint A hospital; a doctor’s office.
[US]W. Burroughs letter April in Harris (1993) 115: I thought the nut croakers had fucked him up permanent.
[US]‘William Lee’ Junkie (1966) 22: The old croaker on 102nd finally lost his mind and no drugstore would fill his scripts.
[US]Murtagh & Harris Who Live In Shadow (1960) 54: None of them croakers scuffling around was able to put tea down along with the wicked stuff would give you a habit.
[US]Ragen & Finston World’s Toughest Prison 796: croaker – A physician. [...] croaker joint – A physician’s office.
[US]Current Sl. III–IV (Cumulation Issue) 33: Croaker, n. A doctor who will write prescriptions for a drug user.
[US]E. Grogan Ringolevio 54: A long list of croakers who wrote scripts for ten, twenty, fifty dollars.
[US]J. Wambaugh Glitter Dome (1982) 21: More likely, treatment from some unlicensed Chinese croaker.
[US]J. Wambaugh Golden Orange (1991) 99: Making annual visits to a plastic surgeon where the croaker’s floor is slushy with sucked-out pheasant.
[US]J. Stahl Permanent Midnight 219: A Reseda croaker who peddled [...] any pill you wanted.
[US]F.X. Toole Pound for Pound 127: Go see your croaker to write you a scrip.

2. (US prison) the prison doctor.

[US]Morell Twenty-Fifth Man in Hamilton Men of the Und. 255: The prison ‘croaker’ was called to the dungeon.
[US]D. Maurer ‘Argot of the Und. Narcotic Addict’ Pt 1 in AS XI:2 120/2: croaker. An addict’s term, common also among other underworld folk, for a physician. In underworld argot, specialized to mean a prison doctor.
[US]‘Red’ Rudensky Gonif 4: The Croaker, an alcoholic medical has-been, took only a glancing observation before condemning me to the tubercular ward.
[Can]R. Caron Go-Boy! 55: There were about a dozen inmates [...] waiting to be called in to see The Croaker.
[UK]J. Morton Lowspeak.
[US]Bentley & Corbett Prison Sl. 104: Croaker A prison doctor.
[US]Texas Lawyer [journal] Gloss. of Texas Prison Sl. 8 Feb. : Croaker – A prison medical officer.

In compounds