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Sunday, December 8, 2013
Proving and Preventing Abuse
A friend of mine is a foster parent. She currently has two children, the boy is 3 and the girl is 1 1/2, they were put into her care in April because the boy was put in the hospital because he was vomiting blood and he was black and blue from the neck down. 3 weeks prior to his hospitalization he was taken to the emergency room with a spiral fracture 7 inches up his leg. The mom`s story was that he had gotten into his sister`s bed (a crib) and tried to get out and his leg got caught and he fell out. He is healthy now, but whenever he knows he is having a visit with his mother he misbehaves and soils his pants (he is already potty trained). Last week I asked him if he loves his mom and he put his head down and said "I can`t make my mommy mad, she hurts me." The mom has been cleared by the police and the children might be going back to her. How likely is it that this was not done by the mom, and what advise would you give to keep these children protected?
The story you are describing sounds like child abuse. However, I certainly would not attempt to make a diagnosis based on the information that you have provided.
You mention that this has already been investigated and that the boy's family has been cleared of abuse. If you fear that the investigation overlooked obvious facts or was done incompletely, a call to the supervisors of the police as well as the children's services worker would be appropriate.
Robert Shapiro, MD
Professor of Clinical Pediatrics
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati