he was circling the drain


Senior Member

Quelqu'un connaitrait-il une traduction française de cette expression médicale ? Voilà la définition que j'ai trouvée : "Term used in medical circles to describe a patient for whom death is impending and yet continues to cling to life." Mais je peine à trouver une expression française qui colle au contexte, que voici : un "paramedic"a tenté de ranimer un homme (qui venait de faire une overdose) et explique au policier qui lui demande s'il était encore en vie quand les secours sont arrivés que "he was circling the drain".
Merci pour votre aide.
  • Transfer_02

    Senior Member
    English - British

    - « Entourant le drain » Peut également signifier « sûr de mourir »



    La série ainsi programmée a initialement pris le titre de production de Chasing Zebras, Circling the Drain[34] (Zebra, « Zèbre », est un terme d'argot médical pour un diagnostic inhabituel ou obscur[N 3],[35], tandis que Circling the Drain se réfère aux cas de patients en phase terminale, dans un phénomène de descente irréversible vers la mort[36]).
    English - Canadian
    In case it helps / wasn't obvious ;) -- it's actually a very crude expression. Medical staff would never say "he's circling the drain" to a patient's spouse or family, for instance, if they wanted to keep their job / licence to practice.


    Senior Member
    English - British
    But they might use "CTD"... listening to programme like House or ER in both English and French gives an idea of the dilemmas faced by translators... In the original versions a lot of the jargon is left intact for the audience to figure out (lol = little old lady; RTA= road traffic accident) but in the dubbed French versions the expressions are not always so colloquial or cryptic.

    You're right - the language used between doctors and nurses might be quite different to the language used with patients (or at least, it should be!)


    Senior Member
    French - France
    "il avait déjà un pied de l'autre côté" me paraît correspondre bien au sens et au côté imagé de "circling the drain" "CTD" ("close to death" ... originally, I guess)
    English - Canadian
    Transfer 02 -- it reminded me of the jargon at the opposite end. Two years ago when my co-vivant was critically ill in hospital, in diabetic ketoacidosis and hooked up to every machine in the place w/in 20 minutes of arrival, the doctor actually spoke the TV line to me, about an hour later.

    Steps out from the curtained cubicle with me, puts on a grave face, and actually comes out with it: "Mr./Ms. ___, your ___ is very ill," and looks at me intently. I had watched enough medical dramas that I knew what this meant: prepare yourself, odds are he's going to die. He did in fact mean at least that odds weren't great that he would live. He did, though. ;)

    Possibly on the other side of the curtain he'd been shaking his head and saying "This one is CTD" to the nurse.