Fatally flawed? A review and ethical analysis of lethal congenital malformations
Article first published online: 25 JUL 2012
© 2012 The Authors BJOG An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology © 2012 RCOG
BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology
Volume 119, Issue 11, pages 1302–1308, October 2012
How to Cite
Wilkinson, D., Thiele, P., Watkins, A. and De Crespigny, L. (2012), Fatally flawed? A review and ethical analysis of lethal congenital malformations. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 119: 1302–1308. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-0528.2012.03450.x
- Issue published online: 14 SEP 2012
- Article first published online: 25 JUL 2012
- Accepted 10 May 2012. Published Online 25 July 2012.
- fatal outcome;
- prenatal diagnosis
Please cite this paper as: Wilkinson D, Thiele P, Watkins A, De Crespigny L. Fatally flawed? A review and ethical analysis of lethal congenital malformations. BJOG 2012;119:1302–1308.
Prenatally diagnosed abnormalities that are associated with death in the newborn period are often referred to as ‘lethal malformations’. Yet, for many of the commonly described lethal malformations long-term survival is possible if supportive interventions are provided. In this paper we analyse and review fetal or congenital lethal abnormalities. The designation ‘lethal’ overlaps with the concept of ‘medical futility’. The term is used for a heterogenous group of conditions, and hinders clear communication and counselling. We argue that the term should be avoided, and propose in its place a set of key questions that should be addressed by counselling.