I'm going to do something I've never done before - I'm going to ask the advice of you, the reader. I saw a patient today that made my blood boil, and I'm not sure if what she did constitutes child abuse. Whether it is or not, it's stupid to say the least.
The patient is a 27 year old woman who is 7 months pregnant who crashed her car into a tree. She had no specific complaints, but the paramedics brought her in mainly because she is very pregnant. I have no problem with that whatsoever. Even if there is minimal damage to the car, any large physiologic stress can induce labor, so these women SHOULD be brought in for evaluation. My initial survey didn't show any obvious injuries, but she seemed to be acting strangely, and her eyes seemed to be darting back and forth very quickly. And her breath smelled a bit funny.
Fortunately her entire workup was negative...except for her urine drug screen. As I suspected, it was positive for PCP.
Now before you decide if this was child abuse or not, I forgot to add one final detail - her 1-year old son was in the car with her, too. He was fine, fortunately.
She got up and walked out of the ER and disappeared. Before I got a chance to call the police.