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[Changes in prenatal ultrasound practices after the Perruche decision and Law no. 2002-303 dated 4 March 2002]

Abstract : OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of French law (court rulings in the Perruche decision and its progeny as well as the statute enacted on March 4, 2002 to reverse or moderate this jurisprudence) on physicians' prenatal diagnosis and fetal medicine practices. METHODS: We sent questionnaires to 186 physician-ultrasonographers in two French districts, inquiring about changes in their daily practice and their provision of information to and communication with the future parents, as well as their opinions about the future of their specialization. RESULTS: We received 54 responses (29%): 40% of respondents found it more difficult to tell patients about fetal anomalies. Written and oral information, medical reports and explanations about the limitations of ultrasound have improved substantially in content for 64% and are better used for 42%. Some clinicians (24.1%) report that they take the future parents' emotions into account more often. Some try to be more distant (13%) or more neutral (9.3%). More than half (51.9%) request the opinion of a center for prenatal diagnosis and fetal medicine more often and 20.4% request karyotyping more often. In all, 7.4% believe that their counseling now leads more often towards abortions. CONCLUSION: Although practitioners had an extremely negative perception of the case law and some were also unhappy with the new statute, these did lead to the reorganization and formalization of their practices. We can see that judicial decisions taken in a specific, individual situation can change collective practices and influence--or even overturn--public health strategies. The respondents' intention to take parents' emotions into account suggests they will find a common language to communicate with them. It is nonetheless necessary to organize a nationwide debate about the objectives of fetal ultrasound.
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Contributor : Nathalie Duchange <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, September 30, 2008 - 2:42:43 PM
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  • HAL Id : inserm-00120085, version 1
  • PUBMED : 17028535


Nadia Léticée, Marie-Laure Moutard, Grégoire Moutel, Yves Ville. [Changes in prenatal ultrasound practices after the Perruche decision and Law no. 2002-303 dated 4 March 2002]. La Presse Médicale, Elsevier Masson, 2006, 35 (10 Pt 1), pp.1467-74. ⟨inserm-00120085⟩



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