Are Multiple Rib Fractures in Infants Always Due to Abuse?
The story begins to unfold when a mother notices that her infant is flinching, wincing, and experiencing bouts of colic. She waits a week to see if it resolves itself. When she seeks medical care for her infant, doctors find multiple rib fractures, some healing and some new. “Fractures like these don’t occur on their own,” the hospital staff tells the mother. She can offer no account to explain how any of the fractures occurred. Everyone at the hospital looks at the mother with suspicion; they believe someone abused the infant. Suddenly prosecutors accuse the mother of a crime she did not commit. Unknown to the mother or doctors, the child is suffering from a metabolic bone disease. How is evidence of bone fractures commonly misused in wrongful child injury prosecutions?