13 Mar Community Challenge: We Are the Answer to Ending Child Abuse
This post originally appeared as an op-ed in the Courier Journal on Monday, March 9, 2014. You can view it online, here.
COURIER JOURNAL | RANDY COE, GERARD RABALAIS, M.D., MELISSA CURRIE, M.D. | MARCH 9, 2014
What is the cure for keeping children from dying from abuse and neglect? The answer is “all of us.”
The truth is we know what works, and we are taking steps to prevent these tragedies. This is the primary goal of the Face It campaign, a 10-year child abuse prevention effort led by Kosair Charities. Face It believes that we can all be the face that ends abuse. Whether you are a parent, a neighbor, a child care worker or a pediatrician — everyone has a role to play in ending child abuse.
We applaud the Kentucky General Assembly for “facing it” in 2014 by recently passing HB 157 and sending the bill to Gov. Steve Beshear for his signature. HB 157 will reduce the number of babies who die from shaken baby syndrome and other forms of physical abuse. The legislation requires a one-time, one-hour training for pediatricians, radiologists, family practitioners and emergency medicine and urgent care physicians on recognizing signs of pediatric abusive head trauma and physical abuse that have only recently been added to medical school teaching.
Studies indicate that doctors need this important training. In fact, random samples from the University of Louisville’s pediatric forensic database showed that more than half of children under age 4 who were treated for serious physical injuries had been seen by a medical professional at some point before the trauma. In these cases, the medical professional documented injuries on the child that should have been red flags for child abuse, but were not recognized as such.
We thank Representatives Addia Wuchner and Susan Westrom, who were the primary co-sponsors of HB 157, and the Kentucky House and Senate for unanimously passing the bill this session. No physician wants to miss signs of child abuse, and this bill will help make sure that doesn’t happen.
We hope that just as legislators are “facing it,” everyone in the community will also be the face that ends child abuse.
You can play a role at the upcoming Face It Rally, hosted by Family and Children’s Place, on April 8 at 11 a.m. at the Big Four Bridge in downtown Louisville. Come show your support, and celebrate the passage of HB 157. We have a long way to go in ending child abuse, but together, we can make that dream a reality. Face it. End it.