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  • Release Date: 7/1/2015
  • Expiration Date: 7/31/2021

The Role of Diagnostic Radiography in Suspected Child Abuse Cases

Kevin R. Clark, EdD, RT(R)

Assistant Professor, Radiologic Sciences, Midwestern State University, Wichita Falls, Texas.
Address correspondence to: Kevin R. Clark, EdD, RT(R), Assistant Professor, Radiologic Sciences, Midwestern State University, 3410 Taft Boulevard, Wichita Falls, TX 76308. E-mail: kevin.clark@mwsu.edu. 


Medical imaging plays a significant role in the diagnosis and detection of child abuse. Child abuse is the third leading cause of death in children aged between 1 and 4 years. Such staggering statistics make child abuse a national priority. Failure to make a correct diagnosis may result in serious consequences. Diagnostic imaging procedures that support child abuse allegations in a court of law should comply with the highest quality standards while minimizing the child's exposure to radiation. This article examines the role of diagnostic radiography in suspected child abuse cases. Specifically, the content discusses procedures including the skeletal survey, common musculoskeletal injuries limited to fractures, pathologies that mimic abuse, and the radiographer's role in suspected child abuse cases.

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