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September 10, 1982

Fetal Blood Typing After Sexual Assault

JAMA. 1982;248(10):1179. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330100019014

To the Editor.—  Physicians caring for victims of alleged sexual assault must work in close cooperation with legal authorities. In addition to medical and psychological aspects of patient care, it is important to consider all feasible methods of gathering evidence. For the victim who is pregnant as a result of sexual assault and requests termination of pregnancy, retrieval and examination of fetal blood for paternity exclusion should be considered.

Report of a Case.—  A 15-year-old girl was admitted to the hospital with a pregnancy of 15 weeks' duration; she allegedly had been raped 13 weeks before admission. Termination of pregnancy was requested by the patient and her mother, who had recently learned of the pregnancy and history of sexual assault. Laminaria tents were used for preoperative cervical dilatation, and abortion was carried out by dilatation and evacuation technique (D&E), with the patient under general anesthesia. After rupturing the amniotic sac,