Fatality Review Programs

The Allegheny County Health Department’s Office of Family and Child Health coordinates two fatality review programs dedicated toward preventing future fatalities of those 21 years of age and younger: the Fetal and Infant Mortality Review (FIMR) and the Child Death Review (CDR). More details on these programs are outlined below.

If you have received a call from a parental interviewer, please select the tab below for the “Fetal and Infant Mortality Review” or call our office at (412) 247-7950 for any additional questions.

Fetal and Infant Mortality Review (FIMR)

The Fetal and Infant Mortality Review is a program that works to better understand and prevent stillbirth, pregnancy loss, and infant death.

Data for fetal and infant deaths are gathered from sources including birth and death certificates and records from hospitals, physicians, Healthy Start, WIC, social service and law enforcement agencies, interviews with the birth parent, and other family members.

All information is de-identified and access to records is given to the Allegheny County Health Department through public health research statutes. The de-identified cases are reviewed by the Case Review Team, an interdisciplinary team of professionals and community members, who examine the case documents and family interviews to answer the question, “Where did the system fail this family?”

The review team prioritizes and documents all contributing factors for each case. Periodically, the year’s cases and priority contributing factors are examined by the FIMR Community Action and Education Group. After determining the major issues and trends, the group makes formal recommendations for community interventions to prevent further deaths. Strict confidentiality is maintained at all steps in the process, and the cases the team reviews have no identifying information.

FIMR Case Review Team

The FIMR Case Review Team (CRT) examines fetal and infant deaths in order to achieve a better future for all children and families. Each case reviewed provides us with an opportunity to look more broadly at community and system circumstances. The CRT process includes:

  • Data abstraction from hospital, medical and vital records by a nurse/medical records abstractor.
  • Maternal interview.
  • De-identified fetal and infant death case review.

Sources of data may include vital records data, prenatal, delivery, neonatal and pediatric records, autopsy medical records, physician and hospital records along with those from home visits, Healthy Start, WIC and, additional social service records when available.

The role of the Case Review Team is to determine whether:

  • The family received the services they needed?
  • Are there gaps in the system?
  • What can this case tell us about how families can best utilize existing local resources?

CRT members include a broad range of medical and health professionals, organizations and public and private agencies (health, welfare, education and social services), consumers and maternal child health advocates.

The Case Review Team:

  • Reviews the case summaries to identify barriers to care, gaps in services, trends in service delivery and availability of community resources for families.
  • Documents what opportunities for improvement exist.
  • Reports their findings to the community action team.

Parental Interviews

We interview the families that have recently experienced the loss of a baby during pregnancy or in early infancy who are also open to sharing their experiences with us.

As a parent, only you can tell us about your experience with medical and social service providers.

These stories allow us to examine current services and then understand what services families need and how successful they are at getting them.

The Interview:

  • The interview lasts for 1.5-2 hours. If it becomes too much, the interview can end at any time
  • It can be held in your home, or in another location
  • Your children or a support person can be present during the interview
  • No one will know your name, the name of your doctor or hospital. This information will remain confidential. We will only tell your story.
  • We work alongside hospitals and birthing centers

FIMR Community Action Team (CAT)

Based on FIMR priorities this committee advises and assists in the preparation and implementation of educational programs and activities for the community, clients, and service providers.

Agencies, organizations, and individuals interested in working for the advancement of maternal and infant health in the community through action and education are invited to join.

Our partners include:

Child Death Review (CDR)

The Allegheny County Health Department has been tasked with coordinating the Child Death Review (CDR) for the county through the 2008 PA Act 87. The mission of the Allegheny County Child Death Review program is to promote the safety and well-being of children and reduce preventable child fatalities. This is accomplished through timely reviews of child deaths. Information obtained from the reviews is used to determine how future deaths can be prevented.

Find more information about the PA Child Death Review Program.

For more information about the Allegheny County CDR Program reach out to (412) 247-7950 or email info.review@alleghenycounty.us.