Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

What do you tell the family who asks, ‘What went wrong?’ The truth and nothing but the truth

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. Epstein RM, Korones DN, Quill TE . Withholding information from patients—when less is more. N Engl J Med 2010; 362: 380–381.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Canterbury v. Spense, 464 F.2d 772 (D.C. Cir. 1972).

  3. Benedetto C, Marozio L, Prandi G, Roccia A, Blefari S, Fabris C . Short-term maternal and neonatal outcomes by mode of delivery: a case controlled study. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol 2007; 135: 35–40.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. McQuivey RW . Vacuum-assisted delivery: a review. J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med 2004; 16: 171–179.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Amar AP, Aryan HE, Meltzer HS, Levy ML . Neonatal subgaleal hematoma causing brain compression. Neurosurgery 2003; 52: 1470–1474.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Ali UA, Norwitz ER . Vacuum-assisted vaginal delivery. Rev Obstet Gynecol 2009; 2: 5–17.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  7. Ng Y, Su P, Chen J, Lee I . Do vacuum-assisted deliveries cause intracranial vessel injuries? J Child Neurol 2010; 25: 222–226.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. United States Foods and Drug Administration. FDA Public Health Advisory: Need for Caution When Using Assisted Delivery Devices. FDA: Rockville, (MD), 1998 Available at:

  9. Health Protection Branch. The Use of Assisted Delivery Devices and Fetal Subgaleal Hemorrhage. Medical Device Alert 110. Health Canada: Ottawa, 1999 Available at:

  10. Johanson RB, Menon KB . Vacuum extraction versus forceps for assisted delivery. Cochrane Database System Reviews 2000 Issue 2. Art. no.: CD0900224.

  11. Towner D, Castro MA, Eby-Wilkens E, Gilbert WM . Effects of mode of delivery in nulliparous women on neonatal intracranial hemorrhage. N Engl J Med 1999; 341: 1709–1714.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. Boo N, Foong K, Mahdy ZA, Yong SC, Jaafar R . Risk factors associated with subaponeurotic hemorrhage in full-term infants exposed to vacuum extraction. Int J Obstet Gynecol 2005; 112: 1516–1521.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Kilani RA, Wetmore J . Neonatal subgaleal hematoma: presentation and outcome—radiological findings and factors associated with mortality. Am J Perinatol 2006; 23: 41–48.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Drife JO . Choice and instrumental delivery. Br J Obstet Gynecol 1996; 103: 608–611.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. Uchil D, Arulkumaran S . Neonatal subgaleal hemorrhage and its relationship to delivery by vacuum extraction. Obstet Gynecol Surv 2003; 58: 687–693.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Chang HY, Peng CC, Kao HA, Hsu CH, Hung HY, Chang JH . Neonatal subgaleal hemorrhage: clinical presentation, treatment, and predictors of poor prognosis. Pediatr Int 2007; 49: 903–907.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Fla. Stat. § 766.106 (5)(a). (2003).

  18. Brennan TA, Leape LL, Laird NM, Hebert L, Localio AR, Lawthers AG et al. Incidence of adverse events and negligence in hospitalized patients: results of the Harvard Medical Practice Study I. N Engl J Med 1991; 324: 370–376.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  19. Institute of Medicine. Thomas LT, Corrigan JM, Donaldson MS Eds. To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System. National Academy Press: Washington, DC, 1999.

    Google Scholar 

  20. ‘Hippocrates’. trans. WHS Jones Harvard University Press: Cambridge, 1923. Vol. 1 299–300.

  21. Collins J . Should doctors tell the truth? Harper's Monthly Magazine 1927; 155: 320–326.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to J J Paris.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Paris, J., Chu, A., Angelos, P. et al. What do you tell the family who asks, ‘What went wrong?’ The truth and nothing but the truth. J Perinatol 30, 513–516 (2010).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


Quick links