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Original Contribution
May 8, 1991

Teaching Intubation Skills Using Newly Deceased Infants

JAMA. 1991;265(18):2360-2363. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03460180066034

This prospective study was designed to (1) test the hypothesis that the majority of families of newly dead infants in a tertiary neonatal intensive care unit would consent to their infants' being intubated for teaching purposes, (2) determine factors related to family consent, and (3) determine the effects of participation on resident physicians and respiratory therapists. Family consent for intubation was requested following 44 (80%) of the 55 deaths that occurred during the 10-month study period. Of these requests, 32 (73%) were granted. Proportionately more white than black families consented and consent was positively related to autopsy permission. Fifty-three (75%) of 71 trainees completed a mailed questionnaire after their first intubation experience. Although each respondent found the experience helpful, many reported mixed feelings categorized as doubt about participating, apprehension and discomfort, respect for the body, appreciation for the opportunity, a sense of achievement, and feelings of comfort knowing that consent had been obtained. These findings confirm our initial hypothesis and suggest that (1) newly dead infants can be a valuable resource for teaching intubation skills, and (2) others considering a similar approach need to be aware of and sensitive to trainees' feelings.

(JAMA. 1991;265:2360-2363)