Accidental fetal decapitation a case of medical and ethical mishap

Jehuda Hiss, Tzipi Kahana*, Irad Burshtein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Blunt trauma to the head and neck of a newborn during delivery process is a rare event.We report a peculiar case of decapitation of a live fetus during vacuum-assisted delivery, where excessive traction on the head of the full-term macrosomic fetus with shoulder dystocia resulted in overstretching of the neck up to the point of decapitation. The ethical considerations related to the case are discussed in light of the policy of complete transparency advocated by the medical profession. Despite the existence of regulations regarding full disclosure of errors to the medical institution, the Ministry of Health and to the patient, medical practitioners are reluctant to divulge all the details of adverse events to the patient.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-247
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2011


  • Birth-related trauma
  • Ecapitation
  • Fetus
  • Medical ethics


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