Infant Journal
for neonatal and paediatric healthcare professionals

When should a neonatal death be referred to the coroner? Initiation of a guideline to aid decision making

Despite improved survival, particularly for extremely preterm infants, sadly some neonates die. When this happens, it may be appropriate to refer the death to the coroner, however, there is huge variation in practice between settings regarding the coroner referral process. After a particular case concerning several hospitals, we reviewed available evidence and produced a guideline to aid this process, involving both neonatologists and our coroner’s office, and including parental concerns. This has enabled a systematic, transparent approach that is equal for all infants.

Narendra Aladangady
Consultant Neonatologist and Honorary Clinical Professor in Child Health, Neonatal Unit, Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London, and Queen Mary University of London

Philippa Chisholm
Consultant Neonatologist, Neonatal Unit, Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London

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EEG; sleep; sleep interruption
Key points
  1. Disturbances of nocturnal sleep in preterm infants were frequent in the NICU, predominantly for feeding.
  2. Infants who woke spontaneously, fed more efficiently within a shorter time-frame compared to infants who were disturbed from their sleep for feeding.
  3. Optimising sleep in the NICU will support the normal trajectory of development.

Also published in Infant:

Home oxygen in neonatal chronic lung disease
Home oxygen therapy is used to optimise growth and development in infants with chronic lung disease of prematurity. However, the treatment also carries a significant burden to the patient and family. Current guidelines are mainly based on expert consensus due to the lack of a strong evidence base, and local practices vary. We surveyed neonatal units across England and Wales to understand current practice and areas for optimisation of care.