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Nursing Lingo Part 4: FLK

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Today’s bit of nursing lingo is not without controversy: FLK.  Let me start by saying that I disapprove of this term.  However, you still hear people use it and, while the term isn’t appropriate, the concept is.

“FLK” means “Funny Looking Kid.”  You hear this most on Labor and Delivery but sometimes also on Peds.  FLK is a catchphrase to mean a child whose physical appearance is not quite right.  If a child is born with irregular ears, a flat bridge of the nose, an abnormally small head or chin, abnormal hands, or other physical differences, there is a chance that child has a congenital disorder.  The child could have one of many differences including Fragile X, Down Syndrome, even Dwarfism.

In the end, I chose to include this term because does it demonstrate an important concept in nursing.  When a baby is born, if there is something that does not quite look or seem right, that difference needs to be noticed, the parents need to be informed, and a geneticist should be called for a consult.  Whether the baby is two days or two years old, it’s important to know what exactly is wrong with the child in order to know how best to care for him.

Here’ s a partial list of disorders that have a physical difference.  Some of these would have been diagnosed by Ultrasound before birth.

  • Achondroplasia or other dwarfism
  • Fragile X
  • Treacher-Collins Syndrome (Mandibulofacial Dysostosis)
  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
  • Down Syndrome (Trisomy 21)
  • Noonan Syndrome
  • Cornelia de Lange Syndrome
  • Crouzon Syndrome
  • Other trisomies: Trisomy 8 mosaicism, Trisomy 9, Patau Syndrome (Trisomy 13), Edward’s Synrdome (Trisomy 18), Trisomy 22, Triple X Syndrome

See also: http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/children/clinical_services/cleft_craniofacial/anomalies/

 

While it’s not okay to call these children “FLKs,” noticing a difference in physical appearance can help the child and family, so keep your eyes open!  Be sure not to saying anything in front of the parents!  One of the beauties of being a nurse is letting the doctor be the bearer of difficult news.

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About Lindsay

I'm a nurse and a wife. Mom of two fur babies (read:dogs). I love God, my family, and taking care of people.

6 responses »

  1. Pingback: FLK Follow-Up « Bedpans

  2. Its really interesting reading about this secret language that nurses and doctors use! So with this FLK, would you say the majority of the time its used it is in a making fun of the baby way or in a serious conversation? I hope its the latter. I agree with you, not a nice term but an important thing to be aware of!

    Reply
    • I would say that it is usually used seriously, not making fun. Still super-insensitive, but usually not one in a mean-spirited way.

      Reply
    • I am an RN and an NP and this term was never used derisively. It just meant that there was something not right about the looks of this baby/child and it should be noted and the Dr informed if he/she did not notice–this is part of our job

      Reply
  3. Pingback: Nursing Lingo Part 5: CYA « Bedpans

  4. Pingback: Nursing Lingo Part 6: Walkie/Talkie « Bedpans

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