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April 15, 1983

Reporting Suspected Child Abuse-Reply

Author Affiliations

American Medical Association Chicago

JAMA. 1983;249(15):2017-2018. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03330390025010

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In Reply.—  The Judicial Council of the American Medical Association has approved the following opinion on the physician's ethical responsibilities in regard to abuse of children, elderly persons, and others at risk.Laws that require the reporting of cases of suspected abuse of children and elderly persons often create a difficult dilemma for the physician. The parties involved, both the suspected offenders and the victims, will often plead with the physician that the matter be kept confidential and not be disclosed or reported for investigation by public authorities.Children who have been seriously injured, apparently by their parents, may, nevertheless, try to protect their parents by saying that the injuries were caused by an accident, such as a fall. The reason may stem from the natural parent-child relationship or fear of further punishment. Even institutionalized elderly patients who have been physically maltreated may be concerned that disclosure of what has

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