CC BY 4.0 · Surg J (N Y) 2017; 03(01): e42-e47
DOI: 10.1055/s-0037-1599229
Original Article
Thieme Medical Publishers 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

The Ethics of Teaching Physicians Electronic Fetal Monitoring: And Now for the Rest of the Story[*]

Thomas P. Sartwelle
1   Deans and Lyons, LLP, Houston, Texas
James C. Johnston
2   Private Practice, San Antonio, Texas
3   Global Neurology Consultants, Auckland, New Zealand
Berna Arda
4   Department of Medical Ethics, University of Ankara, Ankara, Turkey
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

02 December 2016

23 January 2017

Publication Date:
20 March 2017 (online)


Electronic fetal monitoring (EFM) does not predict or prevent cerebral palsy (CP), but this myth remains entrenched in medical training and practice. The continued use of this ineffectual diagnostic modality increases the cesarean section rate with concomitant harms to mothers and babies alike. EFM, as it is used in defensive medical practice, is a violation of patient autonomy and raises serious ethical concerns. This review addresses the need for improved graduate medical education so that physicians and medical residents are taught both sides of the EFM–CP story.

* The Rest of The Story was a Monday-Friday radio program featuring Paul Harvey. Beginning in WWII, Harvey would narrate a little known or forgotten story of history, leaving a key element, like the name of a well-known person, until the very end of the narration, concluding with the now famous tag line “And now you know the rest of the story.”[1]