Skip to comments.The Marks of Childhood or the Marks of Abuse?
Posted on 05/14/2009 9:48:05 AM PDT by nickcarraway
I had just started out in practice when one day I examined a little boy, maybe 4 years old, and discovered around his neck the clear mark of a noose. I asked him what had happened; he said he didnt know. I asked his mother; she said she didnt know, but it was the fault of her ex-husband. I had to tell her I was filing a report with the Department of Social Services the child had clearly suffered an inflicted injury.
My training had included many slide shows about the stigmata of cigarette burns, belt marks and other suspicious injuries, but it was the first time I had been the person alone on the front line, looking at a mark on a child, knowing something was wrong.
My colleague Dr. Lori Legano is a pediatrician who specializes in child abuse at the Frances L. Loeb Child Protection and Development Center at Bellevue Hospital. Part of her job is to testify in court and to speak to judges and juries about a range of marks and bruises and what they indicate.
She has to integrate a pediatricians understanding of child development and behavior with a growing body of forensic information about child abuse. Bumps and bruises, after all, can be expected in any young child who is learning to walk. But some injuries are inconsistent with developmental stage: If you dont cruise, you dont bruise.
So a child who isnt mobile shouldnt have those marks, let alone broken bones. And then there are intrinsically suspicious marks, or marks in the wrong places.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
Thanks for sharing your story. I’d read your book, too, if you ever decide to write one.
My guess is every parent has, at some point, to a certain degree. All the stories on this thread sound so familiar because either I've heard another parent tell a version of it, or I have my own version.
For example, years ago, I knew someone who was tossing his toddler up in the air and catching him, and suddenly the child started crying in pain. It turns out, the child's shoulder was dislocated. The child told the doctor: "Daddy threw me up in the air and hurt my arm." The doctor gave the father a suspicious look.
One of my sons was injured tripping backward off a swing, but my husband didn't think the injury was serious, and we let him play a whole baseball game. The next day, he was in serious pain; it turned out his collarbone was broken. :-0 I know so many parents with a similar story. There are so many more stories I'm sure we all could tell.
When my one son's arm was in a sling, another got a black eye when he was hit by a swing. At that time, there was a huge protest for homeschoolers against a bill that would've brought us all under suspicion of child abuse. Two thousand people attended the protest with their families, but I couldn't go. To explain why to the other moms, I pointed to my children, one of whom had his arm in a sling and the other with a black eye. They agreed my children would've been the front page photo for the news story. ;-)
I was 8 months pregnant with my first, and driving down a suburban neighborhood street at a low speed. A kid on a bike darted out from a side street, I jammed on the brakes, and he ran into the side of my car.
I didn’t see him hit me, and thought I had run over him (bump in the pavement), I tore out of the car, saw him picking up his bike, laughing, and then I fainted in the street.
His dad came tearing out of the house on that corner, helped me sit up, assured me his kid was fine, that the bike was history for a month, and that the kid was grounded, was worried about the little scratch on the rear door, etc.
I just can’t tell you the feeling I had—when I thought I had hit the child.
On the other hand, the son I was carrying at the time was quite a daredevil. During a routine checkup, the doctor was chatting with him, and asked him if he had any hobbies, or collected anything. “Bumps and bruises” was his answer. Another time, the doctor asked him if he had any concerns, and he said, in a serious voice, “I haven’t slept in days.” The doctor said, “You haven’t? What’s the matter?” My son replied, “I sleep nights,” and laughed himself silly.
We did have to put a lid on his crib, because at age 9 months he climbed out and fell on the floor. I told the doctor, feeling terribly guilty, and the doctor just said, “Well, it’s better than a broken neck.” Our pediatrician had 4 children, and he was just a terrific guy. Normal, you know.
I had the kind of kids that always break a tooth or get a black eye, stitches, or a broken arm right before school picture time. *sigh*
LOL! Was it a Siamese? My mom had one that would lurk on the highest places it could (even on top of open doors) awaiting unfortunate humans. I had a ferocious woodchuck in my back yard far more charming (kicked cat butt). We got to an understanding - and it wasn't wired to kill everything that moves.
Nope, just a big grey cat. It does love plastic, and pulled a sheet of bubble wrap on to the stairs. That was exciting when I stepped on it in the dark.
I had the same thing happen to me when I went to the emergency room in January after hurting my ankle playing basketball. I’m sitting there drenched in sweat in athletic clothes with a swollen ankle, wife by my side, when the attending nurse asked out of the blue if there was any abuse involved. I actually thought she was joking, so I said said I couldn’t talk about it in front of my wife cause she might hit me again.
My heartfelt sympathies. It got to where I became numb cutting them knowing that it wasn’t about punishment. It was about sadism and the person you were under was the one needing attention.
I hope you’ve arrived at or are coming to terms with it as I am doing. So much crap is written about how the abused become abusers themselves. Like we have no hearts or free will.
A cat who’s so intelligent as to lay a warning system...WAY disturbing. It’s not going to be the Planet Of The Apes. It’s going to the dogs and cats. There will be war between them and those of us who remain will serve as kibbles and Friskies providers to our masters.
Oh...we’re doing that already.
Reading that reminded me of the movie Pursuit of Happyness - have you seen it? If you have, you know it is incredibly depressing through the entire thing - so much so that my husband YELLED at me for making him watch it, feeling he had been utterly misled! - up until the very end, when his effort is completely validated, as was the time we spent viewing it all. I'm praying for your soon success story.
Thank you both very much. Oddly enough I spent four years at a brokerage firm as computer support. As time went by my employers and I knew we were at polar opposition - they being confidence artists with other people’s money and me being a boy scout. Good guy gets kicked out because he knows too much. Had I been villainous I would have gotten a nice package out of it. But no.
What Will Smith’s character was striving for was, in real life, a path I was very happy to get away from. It was so stressful it induced Bell’s Palsy, a mysterious paralyzing of half my face. Talk about scary!(STROKE! STROKE!) The VA doctor immediately diagnosed it correctly and treatment got my Quasimodo face back to normal in three months. The bells!
You know when your parents said if you keep making that face it might freeze that way? It’s TRUE. Lesson: avoid excessive stress wherever possible. I thank God it hasn’t recurred in eight years.
As for Will, I think he’s a bit overdue for an Academy Award considering all the great roles he’s pulled off. He saved really dog movies on personality alone. It’s a shame that he’s being cast in deeply depressing stuff of late while he obviously shines best as what he is: a celebration of the best in all of us. Perhaps he needs to learn we can’t all be Laurence Olivier.
I know I caught this article kinda of late for comment. But I gotta saym HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA. When I was newly married (19 years old), I was diagnosed with Graves Disease. I had no idea what that was and it sounded pretty serious to me. I started to cry in the doctors office. He asked me if everything was ok at home. LOL!