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The Approach to the Malformed Newborn 

The Approach to the Malformed Newborn
Chapter:
The Approach to the Malformed Newborn
Author(s):

Lewis B. Holmes

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780195136029.003.0001
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date: 27 October 2020

Malformed infants are born usually as a complete surprise to healthy parents. Sometimes the moment of surprise is during prenatal sonography; at other times, it is in the delivery room. Regardless of the circumstances, the goal of the clinician is to help the parents to answer their overriding question: “Why did this happen?” The process of developing an answer starts ideally with an interview with both parents, a careful examination of the infant, a review of the findings in the diagnostic studies carried out, and a thorough discussion of the findings and the recommendations. This process is more effective when there are several meetings with the parents, so the clinician and each parent can become acquainted and achieve a level of mutual respect and trust. The final collation of the findings and the interpretation may only be possible after several days or weeks. In reality, this process often occurs in brief snatches of time, and is complicated by fatigue, anxiety, or anger. It may not even be possible to meet with both parents at the same time. Each step in this process is significant, so any shortcut is a calculated risk.

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