This week is a little medical schooling. Some of you may want to go to medical school, but most will probably want to go into law enforcement, law, and/or corrections. However, it is important to get down the basics of medical evaluation of children. Remember what we discussed last week (and the week prior): we need as much evidence as possible. Thus, if you charge child abuse alleging bruising, it is best to have a doctor testify to the injuries because the doctor is the one with a background in medicine. If you, as a law enforcement officer, merely testify to the bruising, this is “evidence” but is it going to be the “best evidence” for a jury to hear/see? Probably not. So let’s dive into it and get down the basics of medical evaluations, based on this week’s lecture.
Doctor Phil Goode
Dr. Goode works at Hawksville Hospital, and has been the chief physician for over 10 years. You are an officer with the Hawksville Police Department, having held this position for 11 years – the last 3 years of which has been special investigations (child abuse, elder abuse, domestic violence, sexual assaults).
Baby Sophie is brought in for evaluation to see Dr. Goode. You received a phone call from the Hawksville Social Services Department that a complaint was made and little Sophie needed to be checked out.
You meet with Dr. Goode and Helen, the social worker, as Dr. Goode evaluated Sophie. Here are some notes you take in conjunction with Dr. Goode’s evaluation.
a. Sophie is 2-years-old, and can cruise pretty easily.
b. Minor retinal damage in left eye
c. Small, circular marks indicative of 3rd-degree burns
d. Bruises on shins (top of legs) and bruises on bottom of feet
e. One larg[er] bruise on side of head (left side)
f. Not the first time Sophie has been brought in for evaluation; last year Sophie was brought in for rib fractures (parents claim Sophie choked on food and had to do CPR)
g. Is a genetic carrier of “brittle bone disease” but has not been genetically tested to determine that, in fact, Sophie has this disorder
h. Parents admit that Sophie “cries all the time”
i. Uniform 1st-degree burn around the waste
j. Small 2nd-degree burn on tips of fingers of right hand
k. Child lives in a part of town with mixed-use housing, high residential capacity, and lives with 8 others (varying age) in a 3 bedroom condo
l. Father works 40 hours a week; mother works 35 hours a week
m. Sophie appears happy but hesitant when Dr. Goode does his evaluation
n. Sophie not quite verbal (even considering her age), but does say that “when [she] is bad, [she] is punished;” when asked by whom, Sophie does not answer
o. Sophie to play with other children who stay in the house with her
In at least 600 words, provide a memo to your lieutenants detailing these injuries, the probable cause of the injuries, your knowledge about these specific injuries, alternative hypotheses to the injuries, and what should be the next step. Do not simply make a list (a-o) and address each one; use paragraphs, sentences, and organization in your memo. Make sure to utliize the material from this week’s videos, as well as the slides. Remember: you do not want to waste everyone’s (defendants, courts, departments) time with injuricixes that have plausible explanations.
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