It is obvious in consideration of the Sudden Infant Death syndrome (SIDS) that the physician has no responsibility in management of the tragedy prior to the death of the infant, since death occurs unexpectedly. The physician does, however, have definite responsibilities to the family after the death of the infant.
Physician as Counselor
The role of the physician in management of SIDS has been discussed in the literature over the past decade.1-6 Thus, we are told that the physician should counsel the parents who are grief-stricken and often suffer severe psychological aftereffects and who may have excessive guilt reactions, feeling responsible in some way for their child's death. In order to dispel the grief and guilt reactions, parents should be told that their baby died of a definite entity (SIDS) and that death was, in light of our present knowledge, unavoidable. There is evidence that in the majority of
HOEKELMAN RA. The Physician's Responsibility of Sudden Infant in the Management Death Syndrome. Am J Dis Child. 1974;128(1):16-17. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1974.02110260018003