The medico-legal investigation of sudden, unexpected and/or unexplained infant deaths in South Africa: where are we-and where are we going?

05:10 EDT 24th May 2015 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "The medico-legal investigation of sudden, unexpected and/or unexplained infant deaths in South Africa: where are we-and where are we going?"

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) has been reported to be the leading cause of death in infants under 1 year of age in many countries. Unfortunately, a paucity of published research data exists in South Africa, with regard to the incidence of and investigation into the circumstances surrounding Sudden Unexplained Deaths in Infants (SUDI) and/or SIDS. Currently, even though most academic centers conform to a protocol consistent with internationally accepted standards, there exists no nationally accepted infant death investigation protocol in South Africa. It is the aim of this study to review the current practice of infant death investigation in two representative but geographically and demographically distinct centers. Retrospective case audit over a five-year period (2000-2004) was conducted at two large medico-legal mortuaries in Pretoria (Gauteng) and Tygerberg (Cape Town). Case files on all infants younger than 1 year of age were reviewed. The outcome measures included number of deaths, demographic details and the nature and final outcome of the post mortem examinations. A total of 512 cases were identified as possible SIDS cases and of these, 171 was classified as SIDS. The study showed marked inter-case and inter-divisional variation in terms of the investigation of infant deaths at the two institutions. It is envisaged that this study will focus attention on the current lack of usable data regarding sudden/unexplained/unexpected infant deaths in South Africa, and aid in the formulation and implementation of a practical (yet internationally accountable) infant death investigation protocol, which could facilitate comparisons with other countries and initiate further structured research in this field.

Affiliation

Department of Forensic Medicine, University of Pretoria, P.O. Box 2034, Pretoria, 0001, South Africa, lorraine.dutoit@up.ac.za.

Journal Details

This article was published in the following journal.

Name: Forensic science, medicine, and pathology
ISSN: 1556-2891
Pages:

Links

PubMed Articles [7486 Associated PubMed Articles listed on BioPortfolio]

Laryngeal Inflammation In The Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Objective Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is marked by' the sudden death of an infant that is unexpected by history and remains unexplained after a thorough forensic autopsy and a detailed death s...

Measurement of nucleated red blood cells in the peripheral blood as a marker of hypoxia in sudden unexpected death in infancy.

A recently proposed classification of sudden unexpected infant death incorporates consideration of possibly asphyxia. This depends on an adequate postmortem, scene investigation and history. A reliabl...

How to write a medico-legal report.

The preparation and provision of medico-legal reports by the treating doctor is an inevitable but sometimes unwelcome part of general practice.

The medico-legal investigation of abandoned fetuses and newborns-a review of cases admitted to the Pretoria Medico-Legal Laboratory, South Africa.

There is a dearth of literature on the extent of fetal or newborn abandonment or "dumping" and the medico-legal investigation procedures these cases require. This is despite the fact that these occurr...

Infant Death Scene Investigation.

The sudden unexpected death of an infant is a tragedy to the family, a concern to the community, and an indicator of national health. To accurately determine the cause and manner of the infant's death...

Clinical Trials [1663 Associated Clinical Trials listed on BioPortfolio]

Cardiac Rhythm Abnormalities in Patients With Refractory Epilepsy at High Risk for Sudden Death

People with epilepsy are at a higher risk for sudden unexpected death than the general population. Sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP) is a major cause of death in this population...

Registry of Unexplained Cardiac Arrest

The project will evaluate a standardized testing protocol in detecting the cause of cardiac arrest and familial sudden death in patients with apparently unexplained cardiac arrest. The tes...

Evaluating the Genetic Factors That May Lead to Sudden Cardiac Arrest (The GenSCA Study)

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a sudden, unexpected loss of heart function. It is a leading cause of death, and more than 400,000 people in the United States die each year as a result of S...

Diagnostic Investigation of Sudden Cardiac Event Risk

Heart failure (HF) affects 5 million Americans, with 500,000 new cases diagnosed and 250,000 deaths each year. The two major causes of morbidity and mortality in HF are pump failure and s...

The Effects of Traditional Acupuncture on Mechanisms of Coronary Heart Disease

This research is being done because sudden and unexpected cardiac death remains a significant problem in patients with established coronary heart disease and accounts for 30% of deaths in ...

Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

The abrupt and unexplained death of an apparently healthy infant under one year of age, remaining unexplained after a thorough case investigation, including performance of a complete autopsy, examination of the death scene, and review of the clinical history. (Pediatr Pathol 1991 Sep-Oct;11(5):677-84)

Postnatal deaths from BIRTH to 365 days after birth in a given population. Postneonatal mortality represents deaths between 28 days and 365 days after birth (as defined by National Center for Health Statistics). Neonatal mortality represents deaths from birth to 27 days after birth.

Unexpected rapid natural death due to cardiovascular collapse within one hour of initial symptoms. It is usually caused by the worsening of existing heart diseases. The sudden onset of symptoms, such as CHEST PAIN and CARDIAC ARRHYTHMIAS, particularly VENTRICULAR TACHYCARDIA, can lead to the loss of consciousness and cardiac arrest followed by biological death. (from Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine, 7th ed., 2005)

Interactional process combining investigation, discussion, and agreement by a number of people in the preparation and carrying out of a program to ameliorate conditions of need or social pathology in the community. It usually involves the action of a formal political, legal, or recognized voluntary body.

A deformity of the SKULL that is not due to bone fusion (SYNOSTOSIS), such as CRANIOSYNOSTOSES, and is characterized by an asymmetric skull and face. It is observed with increased frequencies in INFANTS after the adoption of supine sleeping recommendations to prevent SUDDEN INFANT DEATH SYNDROME.

Search BioPortfolio:
Loading
Advertisement
Advertisement