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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 164-166

Lethal Consequences in an Infant with Myelomeningocele Following an Inadvertent Treatment

Department of Forensic Pathology, West China School of Preclinical and Forensic Medicine, Sichuan University, Chengdu, Sichuan, China

Correspondence Address:
Xufu Yi
No. 16, Section 3, Renmin Nan Road, Chengdu 610041, Sichuan
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2349-5014.191470

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Myelomeningocele (MMC) is a protrusion of spinal cord contents and meninges through a vertebral defect. Iatrogenic deaths of patients with MMC are rarely encountered in forensic practice. In our case, a 3-month-old female was born with a lumbosacral cyst, the size of which had been increasing gradually over age. There was no neurological, orthopedic, or urologic dysfunction. On the day of her death, she received a repetitive and rapid lumbosacral cyst puncture drainage procedure, performed by an illegal medical practitioner. Postmortem autopsy findings confirmed a diagnosis of MMC and the cause of death to be cerebellar tonsillar herniation. This is a pathetic case of preventable infant death. This report suggests that the possibility of MMC should be considered in infants born with a lumbosacral cyst, and aspiration is inadvisable. Besides, forensic autopsy has a valuable role in determining the exact cause of death, identifying, or excluding iatrogenic factors that may be relevant to death following a medical procedure. A final point is that prevention programs should be developed, especially by the health care sectors to reduce such tragedy.

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