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How common is abuse in Greece? Studying cases with femoral fractures


AIMS To examine the extent of undiagnosed child abuse in Greece by studying young children with femoral fractures, which may be associated with abuse.

METHODS Fifty seven consecutive cases of children under 6 years of age with femoral fracture were identified from the Emergency Department Injury Surveillance System database. Controls were 4162 children with other orthopaedic injuries from the same database.

RESULTS Whereas in the literature about one third of femoral injuries among young children are attributed to child abuse, no child in the studied series had been diagnosed or even investigated in this context. Nevertheless, the pattern of occurrence of femoral injuries was compatible with that of child abuse, in that patients were frequently very young boys of low socioeconomic status, and the accident had frequently occurred under poorly identified or implausible conditions at time periods when most family members were crowded at home.

CONCLUSIONS Epidemiological risk factors for child abuse characterise femoral fractures in young children in Greece. It appears that child abuse is present in this country as in most other cultures. There is a clear need for refocusing medical personnel and hospital social services so that the problem is revealed, quantified, and appropriately dealt with.

  • child abuse
  • femoral fractures
  • injury

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