Pediatric Radiology

, Volume 40, Issue 4, pp 514-517

First online:

The intersection of ethics and communication in prenatal imaging: challenges for the pediatric radiologist

  • Stephen D. BrownAffiliated withDepartment of Radiology, Children’s Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School Email author 

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Pediatric radiologists who practice prenatal imaging are often at the front lines of communication with pregnant patients and their partners. The communication process is particularly complex when a fetal abnormality is diagnosed. Regardless of whether the information is completely new and unexpected, or the patient is referred for tertiary imaging and counseling, few pediatric radiologists are trained specifically in the communication skills necessary to provide optimal care to the prospective parents. This paper reviews current literature regarding communication with patients about unexpected or difficult information, and illustrates key clinical and ethical features that make conversations with pregnant patients particularly challenging in the setting of fetal abnormalities.


Communication Bad news Prenatal diagnosis Congenital abnormalities Ethics