We discussed communication with parents of a baby, who surprised the midwife when she noted, ambiguous genitalia. The situation was further complicated by father not being there at the start of the session and joining halfway through. The scenario was done professionally and clearly.

It was good to note that the parents were congratulated even though there was an obvious concern that required discussion. We should not sound like doctors of doom and gloom will only bring bad news.
The learning points were:

  • In breaking bad news do not beat around the bush – say it followed by TIME to let it sink in.
  • Ask if the parents have seen the child and if not offered to see the child together with them to show the point of concern.
  • Remember imagination is worse than actual in such circumstances.
  • Do NOT assign a gender to the newborn
  • Ambiguous – mention what it means and how it correlate to observations in the child
  • Give some idea of the possible causes and what you need to monitor in the immediate future
  • Chemical balance – allows a baby to develop normally into a boy or a girl
  • Imbalance in the levels of chemicals / hormones can lead to changes we note here.
  • Do NOT assign gender & if need to give a Neutral Name.
  • Do not forget 30 second rule EVEN when rattled!

We will have a ‘Discussion’ a clinical case in our next session.

Add a comment or a point I may have missed.

Anil Garg