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Nuchal translucency—screening without consent

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: (Published 28 March 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:1026
  1. Josephine Venn-Treloar, general practitioner assistant
  1. London

    It was during a pregnancy four years ago that I became aware of nuchal translucency. As a doctor with postgraduate training in obstetrics, I thought that I would understand quite a lot about my obstetric care.

    During a scan I became aware that the ultrasonographer was spending a lot of time viewing round the back of the baby's head. “I'm just measuring fluid around the back of the neck,” was the not unreasonable response to my question. It was only after the baby's birth that I learnt what was being measured and studied.

    I realised how close I had been to the receipt of non-specific information from a test that I had not consented to. If the baby had had Down's syndrome I could have …

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