Change in SIDS post-mortem policy

Dear Editor:

     Unless the team for infant autopsies includes an American College of
Medical Geneticists board-certified doctor, plus specialists in adverse
reactions of medicines untested on children and long known vaccine
there will be increased mislabeling of grieving parents.  More than one
remains wrongly incarcerated.

      The esteemed Associated Press would do well to check the kind of
"research" and whodunnit in 1997 to trigger the American Academy of
Pediatrics' recommendation to add "child abuse experts" to SIDS autopsies.
Writers may be amazed to learn how people become "expert," what professional
body certifies or censures them (if any), and what the expert's own rate of
false "child abuse" positives has been.  What may they gain financially and
professionally from expanded roles?

       Dr. David Southall, whose "research" inspired a Dr. Truman (now in
Florida) while he was at Massachusetts General and then the article in
PEDIATRICS, has been suspended from child abuse work in UK for nearly two
years.  Professional and police investigations into his work and that of
other "child abuse experts" continues.  It was he who promoted "covert video
surveillance," itself under scrutiny and question worldwide.

      Suspected parents, especially ones who've lost more than one infant to
sudden unexplained death, need competent and compassionate medical
geneticists, immunologists, infectious disease specialists, proper
preservation of samples, and the common sense Mendel and UK's Dr. Garrod
shared more than a century ago: inherited features, for better or worse,
in families."

       Blood will tell, but only if educated and experienced doctors have
access to sophisticated lab equipment, untainted samples, and truly can
expose the "inside" problems.  Adding insult to the horrendous injury of
losing a baby or child without explanation with a half-classed autopsy team
is not appropriate for "the state" or any of its agents or temps in an
emotionally charged ER environment.

       For the most confusing (no apparent physical marks) SIDS cases, the
E.R. is not where the proper equipment and educated experts combine to
provide answers with really modern medicine.

              Barbara Bryan

Barbara Bryan, Communications Director
National Child Abuse Defense & Resource Center
P.O. Box 8323, Roanoke, Virginia,  USA 24014
540/345-1952; Fax  504/345-1899;
National Office: NCADRC, P.O. Box 638, Holland, Ohio,  43528  USA
Phone:  419/865-0513

"Furthermore, much depends on how statistics are gathered. Until recently most autopsies on infants were carried out in a haphazard fashion. Often, no autopsies were performed. Now, in most parts of the western world, strict criteria are applied and autopsies performed by specialist teams. Many cases that previously would be considered as qualifying for the diagnosis of SIDS are now excluded. This artificially reduces the incidence compared to pre-autopsy and specialised consideration times. To accurately follow recent trends one needs to look at the overall infant mortality rate. This is the bottom line and cannot be easily manipulated."--Dr Kalokerinos MD (Medical Pioneer of the 20th century p178)