Listen to the patientBMJ 1998; 316 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.316.7139.1252 (Published 18 April 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:1252
- R Macbeth Pitkin, professor of obstetrics and gynaecology
- University of California
It was about 30 years ago, at the beginning of what came to be called “fetal medicine,” that I first met Mrs Peterson. She was early in her fifth pregnancy and had written to the referral hospital where I worked, recounting a history of progressively severe rhesus isoimmunisation with her last two pregnancies, resulting in fetal deaths at mid-gestation. Having read about the new techniques of amniotic fluid analysis and direct fetal transfusion, she wondered if they could help her. The very detailed and specific information she provided (which I would come to learn was one of Mrs Peterson's essential characteristics) indicated that the only hope lay with fetal transfusion.
We carried on a dialogue by letter and telephone, consisting mainly of Mrs Peterson asking question after …