X-Rays Helping Diagnose Child Abuse

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Not too long-ago physical discipline was a common practice and seen as normal part of educating children. It was a common accepted belief that parents had the right to educate and discipline their children in the way they considered to be right. Children’s education was considered to be a private matter between parents and their children which no one had the right to intervene.

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It was until some physicians started a movement to make people aware of their findings in their practice. Many Doctors started to speak out about the physical injuries in children that did not matched parents’ explanations with children injuries.

Many Doctors were outraged by the level of abuse perpetrated to children by their caretakers. An article published by Doctor Kempe called The Battered Children Syndrome which is considered to be one of the most influential articles on child maltreatment. Doctor’s Kempe article started to create coincidence among society and authorities on child abuse. The awareness of children being physically abuse made physicians find ways to prove the physical abuse of children. One of the most powerful tools was the implementation of X Rays. The use of X Rays empowered physicians to help prove how many children were not being disciplined by their care providers rather they were being victims of physical abuse. During the early 1900’s the use of X-rays was becoming a common practice in America and around the world. Dr. John Caffey was the first doctor to implement pediatric radiology in America. He was in charge of the Babies Hospital’s Radiology department in New York City. Dr, Caffey dedicated his life to work in pediatric radiology.

Through his career he published many articles. Among one of his most important publications was a text defining the basis of Pediatric X-Ray Diagnosis. He also published an article describing the case of six infants admitted to the hospital. In the article he described how X Rays images taken revealed multiple bone fractures around the body. The injuries were not a disease or a pathology, but rather that it appeared to be of traumatic origin. Along with Dr. Caffey Doctor Fred Silverman published an article in the American Journal of Roentgenology in 1953 on the manifestations of skeletal trauma on infants. In his article he describes the case of three children admitted to the hospital suffering multiple injuries and his findings were similar to the ones by Doctor Caffey. In the 1950’s and 1960’s there was a huge increment on articles published about child abuse and the important role of X rays in diagnosing the abuse towards children. It was concluded that X Rays do not prove who caused the injuries to child but rather it would prove a child was being abused.

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