MEPs lead demand to get sudden unexplained deaths recognised as a syndrome

British medical Journal – 10th October 2003 Rory Watson Brussels
The World Health Organization and national statistical offices are coming under pressure to officially recognise sudden death syndrome in a bid to reduce the number of unexplained deaths among healthy children and young adults. The campaign is being led by two British Labour MEPs, Linda McAvan and Catherine Stihler. They point out that since cot deaths were officially recognised as sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) over 10 years ago, deaths had fallen by 70%.

In a letter to Britain’s national statistical office, they note: “Although the actual cause(s) of SIDS remain unknown, giving these cases a recognised name has enabled researchers to better study the problem and propose measures which have clearly helped to reduce deaths. Experience with SIDS also highlights how the use of a clinically recognised term can provide some comfort and solidarity to bereaved families who are often left deeply shocked and isolated.”

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