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Surg J (N Y). 2017 Mar 20;3(1):e42-e47. doi: 10.1055/s-0037-1599229. eCollection 2017 Jan.

The Ethics of Teaching Physicians Electronic Fetal Monitoring: And Now for the Rest of the Story.

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Deans and Lyons, LLP, Houston, Texas.
Private Practice, San Antonio, Texas.
Global Neurology Consultants, Auckland, New Zealand.
Department of Medical Ethics, University of Ankara, Ankara, Turkey.


Electronic fetal monitoring (EFM) does not predict or prevent cerebral palsy (CP), but this myth remains entrenched in medical training and practice. The continued use of this ineffectual diagnostic modality increases the cesarean section rate with concomitant harms to mothers and babies alike. EFM, as it is used in defensive medical practice, is a violation of patient autonomy and raises serious ethical concerns. This review addresses the need for improved graduate medical education so that physicians and medical residents are taught both sides of the EFM-CP story.


cerebral palsy; electronic fetal monitoring; medical education; medical ethics

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