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
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.