In the medical field a “false negative” is “a test result that is incorrect because the test failed to recognize an existing condition or finding”. Existing conditions such as neonatal rickets are failed to be recognized each year. I am a grandparent whose grandson had rickets. He was also wrongly diagnosed as being physically abused. I have researched for over two years all that is misunderstood and misrepresented in this area. I have conversed with medical experts from UCLA, Stanford, Vanderbilt and Harvard. I communicate regularly with attorneys and practicing physicians that agree with my opinion (Or, I just agree with theirs?). Our expert radiologist was just recently published on the subject of injuries resembling abuse.
The very mention of child abuse conjures up mental images that stir our most primal of human instincts. Protect the species; protect the very essence of our nurturing instincts. Can those responsible for protecting our children separate their emotions from fact? Evaluating cases of suspected child abuse deserves the highest of standards. There is no place for biased opinions in this area.
Most people do not understand the intricacies of being accused of child abuse until it enters their world. Our judicial system has set policies and procedures that have evolved over many years. In Family Court you are guilty until proven innocent. Mistakes are often made and innocent caregivers are falsely accused. State workers that falsely accuse you of child abuse have Qualified immunity. There is a major need to educate the public. Well intentioned professionals make mistakes in the court system. In far too many instances, some are so focused on protecting the infant that the rights of the parents are ignored.
X-RAYS DO NOT REVEAL THE CAUSE OF AN INJURY
An X-ray can only create an image. Experts can only interpret that image. They are not psychic, and an X-ray image is not a crystal ball. It does not matter if it was a two story fall, an auto accident or blunt physical force by a person. The X-ray will only show it as broken and what type of fracture it is. In my opinion, detailing how a fracture occurred without compiling birth history, lab results and X-ray images will create a false negative. The science and technology are available for a correct diagnosis. There is no excuse for missing an existing metabolic condition. Multiple medical experts are joining forces to correct injustices. Years of accepted research that established that Classical Metaphyseal Lesions (CML) specifically for abuse is being questioned. According to an article in the American Journal of Roentgeneology, images thought to be caused by abuse may in fact be caused by metabolic conditions. Organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Society of Pediatric Radiologists are pursuing an active role in understanding the different ideologies. A false negative occurs (which in my opinion is a reflection of each expert’s individual interpretation of an X-ray image) when a metabolic condition is missed. If a true metabolic condition is missed, a series of events take place that I would not wish on anyone.
When physical child abuse is suspected and the medical experts express that they believe it may be abuse, a child or children may be removed from a parent’s custody. Once that happens, it becomes a battle in the court room. Both sides arguing that they have proof of the cause of the injuries. A court room is no place for this argument. The proper place is in a hospital using a precise Deferential Diagnosis.
A Differential Diagnosis allows for innocent children brought in for suspicion of abuse to be thoroughly evaluated. If the police and state are involved many people believe it must be abuse. The focus turns to confirmation bias. Well meaning individuals crisscross certain facts. Emotions can cause obvious evidence to be overlooked. The best way to describe confirmation bias is with the old adage “If your only tool is a hammer, everything is a nail”.
In my opinion, people should ask themselves “Do I know the facts?” Whenever they read or hear about a case of child abuse. Before you cast stones at the suspected abuser/s do you know the whole story? Are you just abiding by your instincts to lash out at someone that would injure an innocent infant? Please understand that when you do that, you are ignoring the fact that removing an infant from loving parents is almost as devastating.