Sunday 8 January 2012

Child abuse?

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.


  1. Hello, Im new here. I have to tell you that I really do like reading your blog. I have read almost all of it and I only found it 2 days ago. Anyway, this makes me angry. I would definitely say it is a form of child abuse. Obviously she should not be a parent. Some people just should not reproduce! I mean, I have heard of various cases where women are in terrible situations, doing stupid stuff for god knows what reason and in the middle of all of their misfortune and all, are still having unprotected sex, having babies, raising kids that later go on to having a terrible life or end up being mentally unstable. This just makes me not want to live in this world anymore. And Im only 20! People are doing stupid crap more than ever, I think. I would have made sure someone watch the stupid girl while I called the cops.

  2. Unfortunately alcohol use as well as drug use while pregnant has yet to become illegal - probably because it would be too hard to regulate - but that is in my opinion Child abuse. it sickens me hearing about incidents like this as well.

  3. Not sure where your from, but in the states you definitely have a case for child endangerment; maybe not child abuse, because of the one-year old that was in the car. She was driving under the influence. You have her information from her chart, correct?

  4. This makes me angry too. I agree with you, it is child abuse. She endangered the life of her son and also the one of her future child by driving under the influence of PCP. She must have known it was bad, she can't be that stupid, but she chose to do it all the same. This is a form of child abuse. I hope, at least, her son was wearing his seat belt...
    I agree with Holdenn, some people should not reproduce...

  5. Hmm, it would actually be considered child abuse. A year ago, my friend's dad picked her up from her school (of course, he was drunk while doing it). He drove into a stop sign, and the police arrested him for DUI. Later, he faced court trials, and was convicted of child abuse since his daughter was in the car with him when he crashed. Right now, he's being imprisoned in jail for 3 months, and has a charge of 3,000 to 5,000 dollars or something. :B

  6. I don't know about child abuse, but I think there is a solid child endangerment and possible child neglect to charge if there was any evidence that her PCP-induced actions caused her to neglect her children. You would also have a rock-solid case against her to charge her with use of illegal substances and DUI.

  7. Definitely child endangerment (possibly abuse, depending on the specific laws of where you are located). I might've wondered about post-partum depression from the one year-old and then a subsequent pregnancy being the underlyng cause. Horomones can make people do some crazy things.

  8. PCP is an illegal Schedule II drug here in the US, so just armed with that definition, this patient has already committed a crime having that substance show up in her system [not to mention all the other illegal activities she most likely performed to get her hands on the stuff]. This is not a safe environment in which one should raise kids. Recently, in Cleveland, a 3rd grader was taken from his mother because he weighed 200 lb. If a mother can have her kid taken away because of feeding him too much, certainly a mother should have her kids taken away for taking illegal drugs, especially when one of those kids is still in her body.

  9. When there are so many couples who would make excellent parents but cannot reproduce, it's criminal that someone who has such little interest in her kids' wellbeing can become a patent. The only solutions are unthinkably draconian but that doesn't stop it being a problem. Hopefully this near-miss will be the wakeup call that this woman needed. Hopefully.


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