Pediatric autopsy and informed parental consent ARCHIVES DE PEDIATRIE Rambaud, C., Guilleminault, C. 2005; 12 (10): 1478-1482


In French legal terminology, the definition of autopsy is "organs'withholding". This phrase is ambiguous, meaning both removing the organs for their macroscopic exam and their retention for subsequent histology. The autopsy of a child requires an informed consent from both parents. The issue is that the pathologist who performs the autopsy is not the one who delivers the information and gets the parents' consent: therefore, he does not know what they were told and what they actually agreed upon.A questionnaire was sent to 3 groups of paediatricians (N=891) to approach their knowledge regarding autopsy.Among 362 paediatricians who answered the questionnaire, 57.2% never attended an autopsy and procedures were badly known. They did not know whether or not organs, were systematically sampled especially brain. Regarding the possibility of conservation of organs, a majority thought that one should not solely answer to parents'queries (63.8%) but rather that one should point out every possibility, without giving the ins and outs (60.8%). The majority favoured organs retention and use for research.We make 3 suggestions: to register autopsy in the Natioanal Securite Sociale nomenclature, to establish information and consent forms for organs'removal, retention and disposal, and to offer parents the possibility of an interview with the pathologist before and/or after the autopsy, in association with the paediatrician.

View details for DOI 10.1016/j.arcped.2005.06.004

View details for Web of Science ID 000233213900006

View details for PubMedID 16061365