What is Baghdad on Chicago Med?

(Photo by: George Burns Jr/NBC)
(Photo by: George Burns Jr/NBC) /

Chicago Med is a show that deals with extremely high stress situations. Nearly every episode features a life or death situation in which a Gaffney Medical staff member is put in charge, and forced to make a tough decision. With these stressful situations in mind, it can be essential to have a shorthand communication with the other staffers.

Long time fans have likely been able to piece together the jargon that gets thrown around the ED on a weekly basis, but some terms may still be confusing to some. The phrase “Baghdad” is one of the most notable examples. It pops up frequently, but its exact meaning and origin is a little hazy.

As Chicago Med continues to roll out its seventh season, we thought it best to do some diagnosing and determine what “Baghdad” means when it comes to the ED.

Chicago Fire Baghdad meaning

“Baghdad” is the name given to the trauma bay where gunshot victims are treated. Maggie Lockwood (Marlyne Barrett) originated the term, which helps to distinguish it from the rest of the ED. The bay’s association with Baghdad, Iraq, and the Iraq War is meant to draw a parallels between the severity of military combat and the severity of the gunshot wounds they treat.

The term “Baghdad” takes on additional weight when one considers that several of the characters on Chicago Med are military veterans. ED Chief Ethan Choi (Brian Tee) and Dr. Dean Archer (Steven Weber) worked as Navy Medics together, and while Dr. Will Halstead (Nick Gehlfuss) doesn’t have military service, his brother Jay (Jesse Lee Soffer) served two tours in Afghanistan.

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There’s a secondary phrase that riffs on “Baghdad”, which is “going to Baghdad”. This particular phrase is in reference to Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the fact that some refuse blood transfusions on the basis of their beliefs. When a transfusion is refused, it puts the surgeon in the tough position of having to find a workaround to save the patient’s life.

The use of “going to Baghdad” was firmly established in the season 5 episode titled “It’s All In the Family”. Dr. Halstead and Dr. Crockett Marcel (Dominic Rains) are tasked with finding a workaround when a Jehovah’s Witness is involved in a car accident and requires a transfusion. The duo manage to save the patient’s life, but he’s enraged to find out that they went against his wishes.

The next time either of these “Baghdad” phrases are used on Chicago Med, you’ll be in the know.

Next. How does Will Halstead get his job back?. dark

For the latest Chicago Med season 7 spoilers and news, plus more on the entire series, follow the Chicago Med category at One Chicago Center.