Iatrogenic injury and unexpected hospital death in the newborn

Robyn C. Reed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Neonates are unusually vulnerable to iatrogenic injury due to small body size, delicate tissues, and immature immune systems. Investigation of an unexpected neonatal death in the hospital should begin with a review of the medical record and discussion with medical staff involved in the patient[U+05F3]s care. Postmortem investigation should include a complete and well-documented autopsy. Additional investigations, such as microbiological studies and chemical and toxicological studies of postmortem and antemortem fluid samples, may be crucial in arriving at a diagnosis. Causes of iatrogenic injury include birth trauma, medication errors and adverse drug effects, hospital-acquired infection, and medical device malfunction, incorrect placement, and misuse. Autopsy is an important tool for understanding the cause of an unexpected death, improving the quality of care, and providing closure to parents and family.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)64-69
Number of pages6
JournalSeminars in Perinatology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Elsevier Inc.


  • Autopsy
  • Birth injury
  • Iatrogenic disease
  • Neonatology


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