It happens every day in America. Loving parents take their children to the emergency room for accidents, injuries, and illness.
Sometimes the child appears to be fine, but “to be on the safe side,” parents just want to get their child checked out.
Other times, the parents don’t know what’s wrong, but they look to the “experts” to figure out what is going on. They are worried about their child.
The last thing on their mind is that someone could come in and take their child away from them, accusing them of child abuse.
Yet it is becoming increasingly common for a trip to the doctor or hospital to escalate quickly into this kind of nightmare scenario. A concern for the health of their child becomes a fight for the very survival of the family unit as parents are blindsided by Child Abuse Pediatricians and social workers.
Policies designed to help medical staff spot real child abuse can actually set up innocent parents for false allegations of abuse. Parents walking into a medical setting seeking help for their child often have no idea that they may be walking into a trap.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is a professional organization of pediatricians. Their policies impact the practices of local pediatricians and doctors in Children’s Hospitals.
The public usually pays little attention to specific AAP policies. Policies are generally assumed to be based on scientific evidence, but there are times that politics, agendas, or financial incentives play a role in establishment of policies.
Parents (consumers) have a right to know about the policies of a business or establishment they choose to interact with, especially when those policies can have a significant impact on the well-being of their family.
Trapped, Like a Dolphin in a Net
After a report from a Child Abuse Pediatrician at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital (HDVCH) in Grand Rapids, Michigan, resulted in children being temporarily being taken from innocent parents, the doctor thanked them for “taking a hard hit for the greater good” of catching abused and neglected children. The doctor compared them to “dolphins caught in a net.” (See story.)
The nets cast by Child Protective Services and Child Abuse Pediatricians are catching far too many innocent families. This is evidenced by the fact that 83% of allegations against parents end up being unsubstantiated according to the “Child Maltreatment” report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service. Of the few allegations that are substantiated, many end up being reversed on appeal.
Readers of Health Impact News recognize that Child Abuse Specialist doctors play a significant role in the medical kidnappings of many children from innocent parents – children who frequently have a legitimate medical condition which was overlooked or ignored by the Child Abuse Pediatricians.
A child abuse policy statement from the AAP entitled, “The Evaluation of Suspected Child Physical Abuse,” is one of the main policy documents driving the abduction of children over accusations of “child abuse.”
It was written by lead author Child Abuse Pediatrician Cindy W. Christian of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, in conjunction with the AAP Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect.
In the interest of “informed consent,” this article will highlight specific policies contained within the policy statement that could easily ensnare innocent parents.
Risk Factors Identified by AAP
The policy statement identifies a number of risk factors that the AAP associates with abuse. Any of these factors could alert pediatricians to look at parents of infants and toddlers more closely:
- Maternal smoking
- More than 2 siblings
- Low infant birth weight
- Born to an unmarried mother
- Poverty – Dr. Christian states that “Strong evidence exists for the association between poverty and child physical abuse, and children who live in poverty are overrepresented in both the child protective and foster care systems.” [Note – many activists would argue that this overrepresentation is due to poor parents being targeted for their lack of resources to fight back.]
Military Service Targeted as “At Risk”
Many military parents have reported feeling targeted by Child Protective Services. Parents involved with CPS offices near military bases have expressed dismay at the number of military families who have had their children seized by CPS.
They didn’t realize that there is a specific AAP policy that identifies them as being particularly prone to abuse, thus painting a “friendly fire” target on families who are already a target of American enemy forces. Per AAP:
Military families are at risk for child maltreatment, particularly at times of deployment.
From numerous accounts that have been reported to us, it is apparent that some social workers and doctors have been trained to believe that parents serving in the military are more prone to violence toward their children.
Instead of honoring those who serve our country selflessly, policies such as this pre-judge and profile veterans and active military unjustly.
Allison and Jesus Valenzuela faced such bias from a Child Abuse Pediatrician in Washington state. A false Shaken Baby Syndrome accusation cost Jesus his military career. Allison wrote:
When this case first happened they tried to blame my husband right away for everything, because of him being a soldier. They told us that people in the military tend to have short tempers and come home stressed from work, then take it out on their families.
That couldn’t be farther from the truth. My husband is a very caring and loving man who would do anything for his family, and he would never do anything to cause harm against me or our son.
Here in Washington State, it seems they love to pick on the military. They say supposedly that they love the military, but going through what we went through and seeing countless times of other men in uniform coming out of the CPS office, they love to prey on military families.
See their story:
Explanations that Trigger Abuse Suspicions
Besides parental and familial traits that raise red flags among pediatricians, certain kinds of explanations alert doctors to suspect abuse. While some of them may indicate actual abuse, others are things that could happen to any family.
The AAP lists things that “raise a concern for abusive trauma.” Among these are:
- There is either no explanation or a vague explanation given for a significant injury;
- There is an explicit denial of trauma in a child with obvious injury;
- An important detail of the explanation changes in a substantive way;
- An explanation is provided that is inconsistent with the pattern, age, or severity of the injury or injuries;
- An explanation is given that is inconsistent with the child’s physical and/or developmental capabilities;
- There is an unexplained or unexpected notable delay in seeking medical care; or
- Different witnesses provide markedly different explanations for the injury or injuries
If a parent doesn’t know what caused the child’s injury, they immediately become suspected of child abuse.
Often the injury that precipitates the emergency room visit is the first sign of any kind of medical condition. Parents of children with a brittle bones condition usually do not realize that their child has such a condition until a doctor diagnoses it. They went to the doctor to find answers, not accusation. The doctors, not the parents, are the ones who are supposed to be the experts.
here are many medical conditions that mimic abuse, and it takes some detective work and lab work to figure it out. Conditions such as osteogenesis imperfecta, infantile rickets, and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome can cause brittle bones.
Sometimes the child has an undiagnosed neurological condition or even has a stroke, but because the parents cannot explain the injury, they may be accused of abuse and doctors stop looking for the reason for the symptoms.
Children who suffer a vaccine injury readily fall into this category of parents without an explanation. Vaccine reactions can include brain swelling and brain bleeding.
Parents frequently do not connect the mysterious crying and symptoms to the recent vaccines until much later in their research process. Mainstream medical doctors will seldom make that connection for them, because they have been taught, or some will say “coerced” or “threatened,” to claim that vaccines cannot be responsible for such injuries. So it is immediately ruled out as a possible cause.
Thus, the child has an injury for which the parents have no explanation.
Injuries that Trigger Abuse Suspicions
Over and over at Health Impact News, we hear a particular pattern that results in a parent being accused of abuse and their children being medically kidnapped. The explanation goes something like this, with only the names and places changed:
We noticed a lump on little Johnny’s leg. He didn’t seem upset [or maybe he had always been a fussy baby, so he wasn’t any more upset than usual].
I called my pediatrician and he said to to take him to Children’s Hospital.
So I did.
They wanted to do an x-ray. They said that they wanted to do full-body x-rays just to make sure everything was ok.
The next thing we knew, they came in saying that he had a broken leg, shoulder blade, and several rib fractures “in various stages of healing,” and he had bleeding on the brain.
They asked which one of us hurt him, and said that the only way they could have gotten these injuries was from a car accident, a fall from a high place, or one of us violently shook him or abused him.
CPS came and took him and all our other children away and we had to leave the hospital without our baby.
In the stories that we publish, there is generally a bona fide medical explanation for the symptoms, but they are usually ignored by CPS and the courts.
These are symptoms which could result in a diagnosis of Shaken Baby Syndrome or Abusive Head Trauma according to AAP policy:
Pediatricians can consider the possibility of trauma in young infants who present with nonspecific symptoms of possible head trauma, including unexplained vomiting, lethargy, irritability, apnea, or seizures, and consider head imaging in their evaluation.
These kinds of injuries are among those listed by AAP as being suggestive of abuse. Dr. Christian lists:
- Multiple injuries in different stages of healing; [emphasis added by HIN]
Fracture(s) in nonambulatory infants, especially in those without a clear history of trauma or a known medical condition that predisposes to bone fragility;
Children with multiple fractures;
Infants and children with rib fractures;
Infants and toddlers with midshaft humerus or femur fractures;
Infants and children with unusual fractures, including those of the scapula, classic metaphyseal lesions (CMLs) of the long bones, vertebrae, and sternum, unless explained by a known history of severe trauma or underlying bone disorder; and
The history of trauma does not explain the resultant fracture.
If the child has a brittle bones condition but the parents don’t know it yet, the parents become suspects of abuse. They are often shocked at the accusation, but later discover that there is a family history of brittle bones conditions.
Frequently, the mother took a lot of antacid medications during pregnancy and has low vitamin D levels, but she had no idea that they would impact her baby.
Bruises are considered signs of abuse if they are found:
in children less than or equal to 4 years of age and in ANY infant under 4 months of age.
If a baby under 4 months old falls off of the bed and hits his head, the injury is one that flags the parents for abuse. This is what happened in our latest Medical Kidnap story. See:
Once a Doctor Says Abuse, They Stop Looking for Medical Causes
The AAP states that:
there are diseases that can be mistaken for child abuse, and testing to identify diseases in the differential diagnosis is sometimes required.
Many diseases are associated with bruises, including coagulopathies and vasculitides, and children who present with suspicious bruises may require screening for diseases that are included in the differential diagnosis of abuse.
However, hundreds of families have reported that, once a Child Abuse Pediatrician says there is abuse, doctors stop looking and testing to see if there is any other medical condition.
We have covered many stories where the parents have sought out other medical expert opinions, and other doctors have diagnosed a medical condition which is responsible for the child’s symptoms.
Some parents have had as many as 8 to 12 other medical evaluations which exonerate them, yet the judge and CPS ignore all of the other experts in favor of the Child Abuse Pediatrician, who is not an expert in the medical condition diagnosed. See also:
Some parents lose their children. Some children have been adopted out to strangers.
There are parents who are in prison for abuse they did not commit. The Innocence Project and other such organizations have helped to overturn a number of these wrongful convictions, but by that time the damage to the family is already profound.
Irony – AAP President Says Separation Is Abuse
While the media continues to ignore the hundreds of thousands of American children separated by their parents by Child Protective Services, it has politicized the issue of the children of illegal immigrants being separated from their parents at the border.
In an incredible twist of irony, Dr. Colleen Kraft, the current president of the AAP, the organization responsible for defining policies which result in the separation of children from their parents who take them to the doctor, recently stated publicly that separation of children from their parents at the border is harmful to children and amounts to “government-sanctioned child abuse.”
The Hill reports that Dr. Kraft told a reporter:
It disrupts their brain architecture and keeps them from developing language and social, emotional bonds, and gross motor skills, and the development that they could possibly have.
As U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) stated in his report that was the result of a six-month investigation of minor children coming across the border, most of them are “unaccompanied minors” who are not even with their parents when they cross the border.
But here in the U.S., the foster care system is holding over 400,000 American children who have been separated from their parents.
It is certain that thousands of parents and children would love to see the AAP and Child Protective Services show the same kind of concern for these American children that they are responsible for separating from their parents.
Written by: Terri LaPoint