Table 1

 Responses from registrars to questionnaire about child deaths

QuestionAnswer (n (% responding))*
*Total n = 42 unless specified.
Regarding the last death you were involved with:
Did the death happen out of hours?Yes, 29 (69%); No, 13 (31%)
Were you the only senior doctor involved?Yes, 9 (21%); No, 33 (79%)
What happened afterwards? (did you have time to reflect or did you have to get on with other jobs?)No time for reflection, got on with other jobs, 23 (55%)
Short time to reflect, 11 (26%)
Long enough to reflect, 4 (9.5%)
Went home at end of shift, 4 (9.5%)
What would you have liked to happen afterwards?More time to reflect before work, 24 (57%)
Happy with the way things happened, 6 (14%) (short time to reflect, 2; long enough to reflect, 2; went home, 1; got on with other jobs, 1)
Unsure, 2 (5%)
More parental support, 1 (2%)
More discussion with consultant, 2 (5%)
Left blank, 7 (17%)
Did you need to support colleagues after the death?Yes, 29 (69%); No, 13 (31%) (nurses 62%, SHOs 51%, specialist registrars 8%, midwives 8%, A&E staff 6%, consultant 3%)
Did you feel able to give the support they needed?Yes, 15 (52%)
No, 9 (31%) – too busy
Don’t know, 4 (14%)– “don’t think I did a good job”
Did you receive support from anyone?Yes, 30 (71%) (consultant 50%, specialist registrar 5, SHO 3, nurse 10, midwife 2%, chaplain 1, husband 1, parents of child 1)
Was ongoing support offered to you?Yes, 12 (29%); No, 30 (67%); left blank, 2
Who did you talk to about the death?Consultant 76%, nurse 67%, SpR 43%, SHO 33%, chaplain 5%, counsellor 0%
Partner 69%, friends and family 50%
If you spoke to someone following the death was it useful?Yes, 37/41 (90%)
Unsure, 3/41 (7%)
No, 1 – “death is part of life; we treat it as something that should not be mentioned”
Considering debriefing:
Was there a formal debriefing following the last death you were involved with?Yes, 13 (31%); No, 28 (67%); left blank, 1
Would it have been useful?Yes, 22/28 (79%); Unsure, 6/28 (21%)
Have you been involved in a debriefing before?Yes, 32 (76%); No, 10 (24%)
With regard to deaths in general:
Do you still think about unresolved issues relating to the death?Yes, 17 (41%); No, 22 (52%); Unsure, 2 (5%); Left blank, 1
Is there a particular baby or child you still think of?Yes, 38 (91%); No, 4 (9%)
With regard to training:
Have you had any recent training in breaking bad news? (since medical school)Yes, 25 (59%)
Not since medical school, 11 (31%)
No, 6 (14%)