Poster Presentation

Wednesday, July 11, 2007
9:00 AM - 9:45 AM

Wednesday, July 11, 2007
2:45 PM - 3:30 PM
This presentation is part of : Poster Presentation I
Patterns of Injury in Non-Accidental Childhood Fatalities: Helping Health Care Disciplines Recognize Child Abuse
Sue Gabriel, MFS, MSN, CFS, RN, SANE, BryanLGH College of Health Sciences, School of Nursing, Lincoln, NE, USA
Learning Objective #1: Refine recognition skills of child abuse injuries related to specific age groups
Learning Objective #2: Analyze childhood injuries as they relate to the history provided by the parent/caregiver

Approximately 2,000 children die annually in this country as a result of child abuse. Healthcare professionals must be able to recognize patterns of injuries common to specific age groups so that they can identify, treat and report child abuse cases before they result in fatality. An archival study was conducted on a Midwestern state’s records from 1992-2000. Charts were reviewed and data were collected from autopsy findings. Demographic data was collected as well as type and location of injuries incurred. The sex and relationship of the offender to the victim was also collected. Nine cases of non-accidental childhood fatality were analyzed. Findings were grouped according to the age of the child. Differences were found among the injuries suffered by children in the 0-3, 9-12, 15-18, and 18-24 month age groups. Cerebral trauma and retinal hemorrhage were more common in the 0-3 month age group. The 15-18 and 18-24 month groups had more abdominal trauma. The 9-12 month cases were characterized by a combination of injuries to the head and other body organs. The findings of this study were significant from several standpoints. First, most findings supported prior research on this topic. Secondly, explicit injuries were found to be specific to certain age groups. Thirdly, findings related to the offender conflicted with current literature. The information produced by this study is of significant importance for healthcare professionals working in emergency departments, inpatient and outpatient areas. Healthcare providers need to complete a thorough assessment of children and be cognizant of the stories reiterated by the parent(s), and or caregiver. The final message is; each healthcare provider should ask of one’s self, “does the injury match the story?” Is the story consistent each time the historian recites the incidents surrounding the injury? Do the child’s injuries fit a pattern consistent with child abuse?