Medical Condition Mistaken for Child Abuse; High-Tech Knee Surgery

Medical Condition or Child Abuse?

Could a medical condition be mistaken for child abuse?

The Doctors speak with two couples who were accused of child abuse and had their babies removed from their custody, after doctors found the babies had multiple bone fractures that could not be explained.

The Doctors discuss their role as physicians in reporting suspected child abuse.

"We’re taught, as doctors, to err on the side of caution. You want to, at all costs, protect children," ER physician Dr. Travis Stork says. "And, of course, the question lingers: What if we’re wrong?"

Nashan and Johan took their 3-month-old daughter, Gabby, to the pediatrician after they noticed that one of her feet and one of her fingers was swollen. A body scan found the baby had 21 fractures. Doctors concluded the injuries were intentional. “That’s where our nightmare started. We’re being accused of child abuse,” Nashan says. The couple shares their story.  

Lesly and Chanon took their baby boy, Myles, to the pediatrician after they noticed that his fontanel was bulging and he had bruises on his face. Doctors found he had a posterior rib fracture and two wrist fractures. “My husband and I did not have an answer as to how he got these three fractures. That’s when the physicians decided, well, it must be child abuse,” Chanon says. The couple shares their story.

Chanon, who is a nurse practitioner, reviewed her son’s medical records and talked to one of the physicians who trained her. She told Chanon her son's condition sounded like rickets, a disorder that causes the softening and weakening of bones in children, usually due to an extreme and prolonged vitamin D deficiency.

Chanon had her vitamin D levels tested and contacted an endocrinologist and a radiologist. “It was conclusive that Myles’ lab results, his X-ray images, was textbook rickets,” she says.

Pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears explains that rickets is a condition caused by a lack of vitamin Dor sometimes calcium, which causes very weak bones that fracture easily.

Nashan and Johan heard about Lesly and Chanon's story and reached out to them for guidance. They join The Doctors via video to discuss the legal battle to prove their innocence and regain custody of their daughter.

The Doctors, radiologist Dr. David Ayoub, who testified in defense of both couples, and pediatric radiologist Dr. Thomas Slovis debate whether rickets can cause bone fractures that could be mistaken for child abuse.

Dr. Charles Sophy, medical director of the Los Angeles Department of Child and Family Services, discusses the role of child services in child abuse cases.


Painful Skin Lesions

When he was 17 years old, Brian noticed he had a large, red, irritated bump on the back of his neck. Over the next several years, the bumps spread, and now he has severe acne lesions and scars under his arms, across his chest and down his legs. Brian says he’s embarrassed by the condition, and it prevents him from working and being active.

Dermatologist Dr. Glynis Ablon explains that Brian has hidradenitis suppurativa, a disorder of the apocrine glands. The condition develops when hair follicles become blocked and inflamed, and commonly occurs where oil and sweat glands are found. The cysts can easily get infected and cause extreme scarring. Dr. Ablon uses laser therapy and steroids to begin treating Brian's active cysts and reduce the appearance of his scars.

“It’s really important to treat, the sooner the better. The longer you wait, the more complications you can have,” she says.

The Doctors and USA Weekend

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GPS Knee Surgery

Ever since police officer Sandra injured her knees during a training exercise 17 years ago, she has been suffering from constant throbbing and stabbing pain that makes it difficult for her to do her job. The pain persisted even after she had surgery to repair her knee.

“My life was just, basically, pain, pain, pain,” she says.

Recently, when doctors told her she needed total knee replacement surgery, Sandra turned to surgeon Dr. Jaime Hernandez, who used GPS technology to perform the procedure.

Dr. Hernandez explains that in the past, surgeons have used protractors and rulers to place the knee components, but the new GPS-like technology maps out a patient’s anatomy so he can better align the parts.

“What you’re actually doing is making a custom-fit knee replacement based off of this GPS technology,” says family physician Dr. Rachael Ross. “It’s fascinating.” 

Doctor on Demand

Chenale thinks she has psoriasis on her scalp and wants to get a prescription to stop the itching.

Physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist Dr. Ian Smith explains how the groundbreaking Doctor on Demand app can help Chenale get a diagnosis and a prescription — without the hassle of scheduling a doctor's appointment.

See the Doctor on Demand app in action!

Doctor on Demand is published by Doctor on Demand, Inc., which is owned, in part, by The Doctors’ executive producer Jay McGraw. Dr. Ian Smith is a shareholder in Doctor on Demand, Inc. Dr. Christopher Bailey is a participating physician in Doctor on Demand.

Word of the Day Giveaway

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