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Article
May 26, 1989

What to Do When Faced With Troubling Suspicion That Young Patient May Be Victim of Abuse?

Author Affiliations

JAMA Graduate Journalism Fellow, Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill

JAMA Graduate Journalism Fellow, Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill

JAMA. 1989;261(20):2931-2935. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420200015004

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Abstract

RECORDS KEPT since 1979 indicate that medical personnel have reported approximately 11.2% of child abuse cases each year. That is according to the American Humane Association, Denver, Colo.

Physicians in all states are required to notify their state child protection agencies if there is reasonable cause to suspect that abuse has occurred, says Howard Davidson, JD, director of the American Bar Association's National Legal Resource Center for Child Advocacy and Protection, Chicago, Ill. Telephoned reports must be made within 24 hours of the diagnosis, and a written report usually must follow within 36 hours.

Some physicians who do not see many child abuse cases may lack confidence in their ability to recognize it, says Robert Reece, MD, director of the family development centers and child protection programs at Boston (Mass) City Hospital and Boston Children's Hospital. However, they are not required to prove anything, says Howard Levy, MD, chief of

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