Health, Medicine

Negligent and Inflicted Burns in Children

Publication date: July 2017
Source:Clinics in Plastic Surgery, Volume 44, Issue 3
Author(s): Zachary J. Collier, Michelle C. Roughton, Lawrence J. Gottlieb


One in 4 American children have been abused and up to 5 children die per day from abuse. Children are vulnerable and error or lag in diagnosis may lead to further injury or death. In contrast, misdiagnosis of abuse is also unacceptable. Burns are a leading cause of abuse-related fatality and determination of cause can be difficult. It is critical that clinicians distinguish between burns of abuse (inflicted) and neglect and those received accidentally (noninflicted). Discordant narratives, use of alcohol and illicit substances, characteristics of the burn wound, and concomitant injury are all red flags for inflicted and negligent burns.

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