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Neonatal autopsies yield valuable information

Editorial: Falling neonatal autopsy rates BMJ Volume 324, pp 749-50

Over a quarter of neonatal autopsies yield important new information, finds a study in this weeks BMJ. This should help parents to make an informed decision when they are asked to give permission for their baby to have an autopsy.

Researchers measured the rate of neonatal autopsy over the past decade at a centre in Scotland. They also examined the yield of new information in terms of discordance between diagnoses before and after death.

They found a general decline in the neonatal autopsy rate over the 10 years studied. Over a quarter of autopsies yielded important extra information, and in 3% of cases this information was crucial for future counselling.

The recent high profile disclosure concerning organ retention in the United Kingdom can only have served to harm the publics view of autopsies, say the authors. A concerted effort will be needed to promote the value and purposes of the neonatal autopsy, they conclude.


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Contact: Emma Wilkinson
ewilkinson@bmj.com
44-207-383-6529
BMJ-British Medical Journal
28-Mar-2002


Page: 1

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