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Medical Experts Publish Guidelines on SUDC

Unlike Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (“SIDS”), SUDC is the listed cause of death when a child age 12 months or older dies and the death cannot be explained after investigation and autopsy. And, unlike SIDS, SUDC is not usually part of the educational instruction received by pediatricians nor is it something medical examiners evaluate often enough to reach a comprehensive understanding.

The SUDC Foundation (“Foundation”) is the single organization dedicated to promoting research into SUDC. A grant from the Foundation paid for the development and publication of the first national consensus guidelines for SUDC.

“Unexplained Pediatric Deaths: Investigation, Certification, and Family Needs” was published in January 2020 by a panel of experts from over 30 contributors. The experts are from multiple disciplines, including medical examiners, pediatricians, and federal agency experts in fields such as death investigation, autopsy performance, neurology, child abuse, and many others.

A Canadian neuropathologist described the book as “amazing” and said, “Finally, practicing forensic pathologists have practice recommendations to follow, and achieve when they have an apparently unexplained infant/child death to investigate.”

The book also has useful flow charts for the responsibilities of law enforcement, medical examiners/coroners, and death investigators. Plus, there is a section on the grief responses and the needs of families after the death of older children. 


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