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Étude épidémiologique des morts suspectes de nourrissons en France: quelle est la part des homicides?

Abstract : According to international literature, the proportion of homicides in infant mortality is doubtlessly underestimated and, during death certification, confusion exists between homicides, sudden infant death (SIDS) and death from “unknown cause”, which rates are remaining stable in France for the latter. A retrospective study on suspicious infant deaths (1996-2000) examined data from hospitals receiving deceased infants, from the courts, and from national mortality statistics collected by the CépiDc (Department of epidemiology of causes of death) at Inserm, with cross-checking of the three types of data (after the authorization of the French Data Protection Authority). The objectives explored two areas: 1) statistical data on violent infant deaths and measurement of the extent of the problem; 2) professional practices responsible for the level of epidemiological knowledge. The results relate to 619 cases from 33 hospitals, and 247 cases from 26 courts in three regions: Brittany, the Paris Region, Nord-Pas-de-Calais. In hospitals, the diagnosis of a suspected intentional or certainly violent death (SVD) concerned 5.3% of cases. In suspicious cases, a court report was made in 1/3 of cases, with very low feedback from the courts (13%). In the court study, 80 SVD fell into three large categories: neonaticides (27), shaken baby syndrome (35), “other” violent intentional deaths (18). Half of the children (excluding neonaticides) had a history of physical abuse, identified before death in 1/3 of cases. In both studies, we noted under-investigation, particularly concerning fundus examination and autopsy (one-half of SIDS were diagnosed without any autopsy). The cross-checking with data from the CépiDc showed an under-estimation of homicides (from 3 to 15 times more numerous than official figures, according to the study); the diagnoses of accidental deaths, deaths from unknown causes and SIDS often include homicides. The weak reliability of mortality statistics is largely due to insufficient cooperation between sectors (non communication of hospital and forensic laboratory data to Inserm)
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Submitted on : Monday, December 13, 2021 - 12:02:54 PM
Last modification on : Sunday, October 30, 2022 - 3:23:01 AM


  • HAL Id : hal-03477078, version 1



Anne Tursz, Monique Crost, Pascale Gerbouin-Rérolle, J Beaute. Étude épidémiologique des morts suspectes de nourrissons en France: quelle est la part des homicides?. Bulletin Epidémiologique Hebdomadaire - BEH, 2008, 3-4, pp.25-28. ⟨hal-03477078⟩



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