Updated on Wednesday, February 8, 2012 at 3:43PM by Amit Maini
Dr Andy Sloas from PEM-ED podcast fame has decided to share his paediatric wisdom on the topic of non-accidental injury. Warning : bumper post!!
Child abuse, or non-accidental trauma, is a subject that evokes primal emotion and response from most. As providers that take care of children, it is hard to fathom that anyone would hurt a child. Unfortunately, most people who present to an emergency room having intentionally abused a child are not going to be forthcoming with that information and one can only hope that they suffer the same pain that they have put their child through (primal reaction).
The actual definition of child abuse can be vague and is best left up to the legal community for interpretation. A reasonable definition (for those taking a board style exam) in the near future would be the following: Abuse is constituted by any act or a failure to act that results in the harm, death, sexual exploitation, emotional damage, or physical injury to a child. That said, identification of abuse is the primary responsibility of anyone who routinely takes care of children. Further more, the law holds the medical community accountable for the protection of the children in their charge. In the United States these laws are not limited to medical personnel and this extension of responsibility has been emphasize most recently with the removal of the administrative staff of an entire American university amidst a sexual abuse scandal. We know, as medical providers, that there are multiple shades of grey that color the black and blue background of a battered child’s psyche.