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Anonymous asked in Pregnancy & ParentingAdoption · 2 months ago

What would you do in this medical scenario ?

You're a doctor and you see a mother and child in the waiting room, and the child comes in for something unrelated, but you suspect that the child has also been domestically abused judging by bruises throughout their body. 

3 Answers

  • 2 months ago

    First, I'd ask the mom about the bruises. There may just be a legitimate explanation, such as a recent bad tumble off a bike. If the child were really being abused, I'd expect the mom to hide her away so no one could see the bruises , rather than taking her to a doctor who's sure to notice and ask questions.

    I'd also check her medical records to see if there were signs of abuse or neglect in the past. And I'd evaluate the general behavior of both of them. Does the child seem troubled, withdrawn, or fearful? Is the mom evasive when you ask about the bruises?

    Then I'd go with my gut. As a doctor, I'd be required by law to report suspected abuse or I could lose my medical license. However, no one is required to report bruises per se, if it seems obvious that they happened in a non-abusive situation.

    In summary, it would be a judgment call, based on both the evidence and my gut feeling.

  • 2 months ago

    As a doctor, you are a mandatory reporter. You fulfill the duty of a mandatory reporter to report.

  • 2 months ago

    Google "mandatory reporter [your state]". You will be amazed.

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