APH 1999, 57, 197-209:

Assessment of the behaviour of physicians from emergency services in the French-speaking community of Belgium concerning sudden infant death syndrome.

Y. Coppieters, A. Leveque, A. Kahn, and D. Piette

Keywords: autopsy, Belgium, emergency service, sudden infant death

A telephone study in a sample of 77 medical doctors working in the acute and emergency departments in the French-speaking Community of Belgium has been carried out in order to question about their handling of infants victims of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).  64% of the physicians have precise instructions for managing such cases. Of these, 79% systematically bring back the dead child to the hospital, in 71% of cases, no difficulties were found for performing an autopsy. The obstacles met by physicians are essentially linked to official regulations on transport of a dead child. Moreover, most professionals are not well trained to communicate with families. The are keen on having a pluridisciplinary team to help them to adopt a global approach of the problem.

A better awareness about the SIDS, as well as measures to facilitate the transport of corpses and autopsies practices should favour a correct management for unexpected infants deaths occurring at home.