Child's Death Increases Risk for Brothers or Sisters Dying
The grim legacy of a child's death may include a heightened risk for death among the child's siblings, the authors of a new study warn. The increased risk was greatest among same-sex siblings or those closest in age to the deceased child, and it persisted throughout the 37-year follow-up period of the study, Yongfu Yu, PhD, and coauthors write in JAMA Pediatrics, published online April 24. They urge healthcare professionals to "be aware of children's vulnerability after experiencing sibling death, especially for same-sex sibling pairs and sibling pairs with close age." The authors of an accompanying editorial similarly draw attention to the issue, noting that the devastating impact of a sibling's death is not surprising "when one considers that the sibling relationship is often the longest-lasting interpersonal relationship that a person will have."
@mala Dr Yu, from the Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark, and colleagues used linked national registers to conduct a population-based cohort study of individuals born from January 1, 1973, through December 31, 2004 (in Denmark), or December 31, 2006 (in Sweden). They studied the brothers and sisters of children who died after the first 6 months of life. The authors excluded 14 children who died within 30 days from the same cause as their siblings, on the likelihood that both children may have been involved in the same accident.