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May 1990

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: Medical Aspects and Psychological Management

Author Affiliations

Division of Pediatric Pulmonary Medicine Vanderbilt University Nashville, TN 37232

Am J Dis Child. 1990;144(5):552. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1990.02150290046024

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There are three unique aspects of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS): (1) its frequency distribution in the first years of life; (2) the fact that for quiet death to occur, a host of central and peripheral protective reflexes must all fail simultaneously; and (3) the vast majority of SIDS episodes, fatal or not, occur only once. To date, there is no satisfactory explanation for any of these observations. In light of our inability to understand this condition, its treatment requires empathy, compassion, and the application of the most humanistic traditions of medicine. This brief monograph is dedicated to these goals.

The volume is part of a series published by The Johns Hopkins University Press dealing with contemporary medicine and public health. It is written by SIDS experts and is divided into two parts: the first seven chapters are devoted to medical aspects of SIDS and near-miss SIDS (now called acute

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