July 1979

Physician's Responsibility to Parents After Death of an InfantBeneficial Outcome of a Telephone Call

Author Affiliations

From the Section of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Indiana University School of Medicine, James Whitcomb Riley Hospital for Children, Indianapolis.

Am J Dis Child. 1979;133(7):723-726. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1979.02130070059012

• The effectiveness of a telephone call to the parents after the death of an infant has been assessed. Eleven parents who had received no formal contact after the death of their infant were interviewed at the hospital eight to 25 weeks (mean, 18 weeks) after that crisis. Eighteen other parents whose infants died were called three to 19 days (mean, nine days) after the death. The call lasted 26 minutes (range, 15 to 40 minutes). These parents were also interviewed at the hospital at nine to 27 weeks (mean, 15 weeks) after the death. Nine different problems were evaluated. Three of the 18 families who received a call had ten moderate or major problems compared with the 36 moderately severe or major problems in all 11 control families. This study documents the beneficial outcome of a telephone call in ameliorating emotional problems in the parents.

(Am J Dis Child 133:723-726, 1979)