Using internal and external reviewers can help to optimise neonatal mortality and morbidity conferences

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Abstract

Aim

This study determined whether there was a difference in the conclusions reached by neonatologists in morbidity and mortality conferences based on their level of involvement in a case.

Methods

All neonatal deaths occurring between August 2014 and September 2015 at the neonatal intensive care unit of Sainte-Justine Hospital, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, were reviewed by internal physicians involved in the case and external physicians who were not. The reviewers were asked to identify positive and negative clinical practice items and provide written recommendations. These were classified into eight categories and compared for each case.

Results

During the study, 55 patients died leading to 110 reviews and a total of 590 positive and negative items. Most items were in the communication (25.2%), ethical decision-making (16.7%) and clinical management (14.8%) categories. Both the internal and external reviewers were in agreement 48.5% of the time for positive items and 44.8% for negative items. There were 242 written recommendations, which differed significantly among the internal and external reviewers.

Conclusion

Reviews of neonatal deaths by two independent reviewers, internal physicians and external physicians, led to different positive and negative practice items and recommendations. This could allow for a richer discussion and improve recommendations for patient care.

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