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Case 6:

SS received this referral from the hospital emergency room. A 9-year-old girl was in the ER due to what parents said was an accident. The child had a broken arm and severe bruises on her left leg, the left side of her face, and on her lower back. Medical personnel said, although it was unlikely, the bruises could have been caused by the type of accident the parents reported. The child would only tell the hospital staff she fell and hurt herself, the way her parents said.

On further examination, medical personnel determined the child’s arm had been "twisted" and the injury couldn’t have happened the way her parents and the child reported. According to the medical personnel, the injury was "inconsistent" with an accident and "consistent" with an intentionally caused injury. They suspected child abuse, probably inflicted by the father, according to hospital personnel.

On investigation, SS learned this child had been taken, by her parents, to five different emergency rooms within the past thirty months, with each event attributed to accidental injury. On one of those occasions, the child’s leg was broken and on another she was diagnosed as having a concussion caused by a blow to her head. Parents reported the head injury happened when she had been playing baseball and was accidentally hit by a bat.

When interviewed alone and confronted with the series of injuries, mother admitted she gets frustrated and angry with the child when she won’t behave and loses her temper. When father was confronted with the events and with what mother had said, he admitted he had been covering for mother and trying to protect her.

Mother is hospitalized for psychiatric observation and father has been charged for his role in the abuse. The child was placed into care.

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Please send comments or questions to Gary A. Crow, Ph.D. GAC@GaryCrow.net