The subject of the diagnosis of Down Syndrome babies came up over dinner last night with a couple-friend of ours. I recounted the tale of the scary first trimester screen with baby Stella and my secret nerves during the final pushes of labor. Since we had declined further testing, we had to be prepared for the possibility of a Down Syndrome diagnosis when she was born. Once she was out, no one said anything, so I figured we were cool. And we were!
"Oh," said our friend who happens to be a doctor, "if they had suspected Down, they wouldn't have discussed it in front of you. They would have said something like, 'I think we have an F.L.K.' "
"Funny looking kid."
Hold up, I had to bring some 1997 Indiana out on her. SAY HUH? Funny looking kid? Is this universal? Like could she walk into any hospital and use this phrase and be understood? That answer was murky, but apparently the term "FLK" is part of the language where she went to medical school in the midwest.
I told her if I found out a healthcare professional had used the term "funny looking kid" to describe my child, I'd raise hell. I might even clock a doc. An epidural won't keep my fisticuffs from swinging.
I realize being a doctor is a human job and like any other occupation, there's bound to be some slang and us-against-them terminology. Ask anyone in the car business what a "rat" is or run the term "camper" past a restaurant server. Every industry has its slang-jagon (slargon?). But it sits wrong with me that there would be such a hurtful term for a baby with medical problems used by her caregivers.
I found a whole slew of other medical slang here. Yikes, I hope I never hear my doctor say "AGMI" (ain't gonna make it) or say "LLS" (looks like shit) about me. Lo, FLK is on that list.
If anyone can weigh in on this (or share some delicious terms from other industries) please share. I must to get to the bottom of this!
Filed under: Doctors behaving badly