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"We might get a lot more families who will agree": Muslim and Jewish perspectives on less invasive perinatal and paediatric autopsy

Lewis, C; Latif, Z; Hill, M; Riddington, M; Lakhanpaul, M; Arthurs, OJ; Hutchinson, JC; ... Sebire, NJ; + view all (2018) "We might get a lot more families who will agree": Muslim and Jewish perspectives on less invasive perinatal and paediatric autopsy. PLoS One , 13 (8) , Article e0202023. 10.1371/journal.pone.0202023. Green open access

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Abstract

Background: Perinatal and paediatric autopsy rates are at historically low levels with declining uptake due to dislike of the invasiveness of the procedure, and religious objections particularly amongst Muslim and Jewish parents. Less invasive methods of autopsy including imaging with and without tissue sampling have been shown to be feasible alternatives. We sought to investigate attitudes including religious permissibility and potential uptake amongst members of the Muslim and Jewish communities in the United Kingdom. // Methods: Semi-structured interviews with religious and faith-based authorities (n = 16) and bereaved parents from the Jewish community (n = 3) as well as 10 focus groups with community members (60 Muslim participants and 16 Jewish participants) were conducted. Data were analysed using thematic analysis to identify key themes. // Findings: Muslim and Jewish religious and faith-based authorities agreed that non-invasive autopsy with imaging was religiously permissible because it did not require incisions or interference with the body. A minimally invasive approach was less acceptable as it still required incisions to the body, although in those circumstances where it was required by law it was more acceptable than a full autopsy. During focus group discussions with community members, the majority of participants indicated they would potentially consent to a non-invasive autopsy if the body could be returned for burial within 24 hours, or if a family had experienced multiple fetal/pregnancy losses and the information gained might be useful in future pregnancies. Minimally invasive autopsy was less acceptable but around half of participants might consent if a non-invasive autopsy was not suitable, with the exception of the Jewish Haredi community who unanimously stated they would decline this alternative. // Conclusions: Our research suggests less invasive autopsy offers a viable alternative to many Muslim and Jewish parents in the UK who currently decline a full autopsy. The findings may be of importance to other countries with significant Muslim and/or Jewish communities as well as to other religious communities where concerns around autopsy exist. Awareness-raising amongst religious leaders and community members will be important if these methods become routinely available.

Type: Article
Title: "We might get a lot more families who will agree": Muslim and Jewish perspectives on less invasive perinatal and paediatric autopsy
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0202023
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0202023
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2018 Lewis et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health > Developmental Neurosciences Dept
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health > Genetics and Genomic Medicine Dept
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health > Population, Policy and Practice Dept
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10055096
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