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Korean Journal of Legal Medicine 2002;26(1):27-32.
Published online May 31, 2002.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and Sudden Child Death Syndrome.
Han Young Lee, Kyung Moo Yang, Ju Han Lee, Shin Mong Kang
1Department of Forensic Medicine, National Institute of Scientific Investigation, Seoul, Korea.
2Department of Forensic Medicine, Catholic University Medical School, Seoul, Korea. Kangsm@cmc.cuk.ac.kr
In 1969, the International Conference proposed a definition of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS): the sudden death of any infant or young child which is unexpected by history and in whom a thorough necropsy fails to demonstrate an adequate cause of death. The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development redefined SIDS in 1989, requiring death scene investigation with age restriction under 12 months. These definitions, however, are not adequate for the countries having under-organized medico-legal system. In South Korea, no mandatory or customary complete medico-legal investigation is not performed in the sudden child death cases, including autopsy. As a consequence, SIDS can be diagnosed as 'unknown 'by non-pathologists. Even in autopsy cases, the pathologists can not collect proper medical history by themselves. Furthermore, scene investigation is just performed by police or omitted. Age in SIDS is a controversial problem in both upper and lower limit. So the authors concluded that the above two definitions of SIDS are not agreeable with the country such as South Korea. We proposed a new concept of sudden child death syndrome (SCDS), which means 'the sudden death of any infant including neonate with good condition after birth, or young child which reveals no definite cause of death by inspection or autopsy ', for the purpose of not unreasonable diagnosis and adequate research in the countries having under-developed postmortem investigation system.
Key Words: Sudden infant death syndrome, Sudden child death syndrome, Postmortem investigation, medico-legal system


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