Osteogenesis imperfecta (OI) is characterized by bones that break easily. A minor accident may result in a fracture; some fractures may occur while a child is being diapered, lifted, or dressed. It is possible for a person with OI to break a bone without being aware of it. Children who are not diagnosed at birth often suffer a series of painful fractures before health care professionals are able to diagnose the condition.
Child abuse is also characterized by broken bones. In recent years, Americans have become increasingly aware of this problem and major efforts have been undertaken to protect children. Child abuse is a pattern of behavior that often is passed down from one generation to the next. Many abusive parents were themselves abused as children. Open, honest discussion of the issue not only can ensure the safety of countless children but can also encourage parents who wish to break the cycle of abusive behavior to seek the help they need.
Diagnosis: OI or Child Abuse?
When the fracture seems incompatible with the reported cause of the injury, child abuse is often suspected. And, unfortunately, when false accusations of child abuse occur, families become victimized.
The following practical advice, together with competent legal advice from a family law attorney, is intended to help parents who have been accused of child abuse.
This information is brought to you by the
National Institutes of Health
The National Resource Center is supported by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases with contributions from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH Office of Research on Women's Health, Office of Women's Health, PHS, and the National Institute on Aging. The Resource Center is operated by the National Osteoporosis Foundation, in collaboration with the Paget Foundation and the Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation.