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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 183738 Find in a Library
Title: Pathology of Child Abuse (From Battered Child, Fifth Edition, P 248-295, 1997, Mary E. Helfer, Ruth S. Kempe, et al., eds. -- See NCJ-183728)
Author(s): Robert H. Kirschner M.D.
Date Published: 1997
Page Count: 48
Sponsoring Agency: University of Chicago Press
Chicago, IL 60637
Sale Source: University of Chicago Press
Publicity Manager
5801 S. Ellis Avenue
Chicago, IL
United States of America
Type: Collected Work
Format: Book (Softbound)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Although diagnostic features of abused children are now easily recognized by experienced clinicians and forensic pathologists, difficulties remain in the medico-legal determination of cause and manner of death in child abuse cases.
Abstract: Battered children represent only a small proportion of of abused children, and many deaths from child abuse occur without evidence of significant battering. What physicians and forensic pathologists see instead is a spectrum of fatal injuries whose cause often cannot be determined by autopsy or laboratory studies alone. These subtle forms of abuse are most common in infants who are especially vulnerable because of their relative isolation, small size, lack of verbal skills, and total dependence on caretakers. The pathology of child abuse is examined in relation to the autopsy (radiological documentation, time of death determination, trace evidence, nutrition and hygiene, cutaneous manifestations of abuse, bite mark injuries, thoracic injuries, abdominal injuries, musculoskeletal injuries, and sexual abuse injuries). The value of laboratory studies in the areas of post-mortem chemistry, intoxication and poisoning, and documentation of infection is also considered. Special problems associated with conducting child autopsies are noted as they pertain to fatal head injuries, the timing of head injuries, fatal abuse without fatal injury, dehydration and failure to thrive, mistaken diagnosis of child abuse, and perinatal deaths. Recognizing the autopsy alone does not always establish the cause and manner of death of a child, the investigation of child fatalities by death review teams is discussed. 105 references, 3 tables, and 16 photographs
Main Term(s): Juvenile victims
Index Term(s): Abused children; Autopsy; Child abuse; Child abuse fatalities; Child abuse investigations; Child victims; Crimes against children; Criminal investigation; Criminalistics; Death investigations; Evidence identification; Forensic pathology; Injury investigations; Medical evaluation; Medicolegal considerations; Physician child abuse neglect role; Time of death determination
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