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Critical Situations
March 2002

Scald Abuse

Arch Dermatol. 2002;138(3):318-320. doi:10.1001/archderm.138.3.318

The dermatology team was called in the late afternoon to the pediatric outpatient clinic to examine a 3-year-old boy for a large bullous eruption of the buttocks and perineum. He was brought to the clinic by his single mother and her male companion. The mother noted that he had been whimpering in his sleep since she returned from socializing at the local tavern at 3 AM that morning; on waking, he had been somnolent and emotionally distant. When changing his diaper in the morning, the mother noted bright redness, swelling, and blister formation. He lie curled up and whimpered for most of the morning and early afternoon before presenting to the clinic. The previous night, he had been in the care of the mother's 21-year-old brother, who also lived in the household. The patient had been otherwise healthy in the recent past, without concerns except that he was "struggling with potty training" according to the mother.

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