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Child Abuse Negl. 1993 Sep-Oct;17(5):605-12.

Physicians and medical neglect: variables that affect reporting.

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  • 1Child Abuse Program, Children's Hospital, Columbus, OH 43205.


Variables that affect the propensity to report medical neglect were surveyed among 52 physicians on the staff of a pediatric hospital. Death was one of the 52 potential consequences of neglect listed for 7 of the 46 diseases analyzed. The time allotted before neglect would be considered varied with the stage and seriousness of the disease. Caretakers were less likely to be considered neglectful if the symptoms of the disease were minor, not obvious, or required technical sophistication for recognition. The number of acceptable reasons for missing appointments varied. The natural course of the disease process, efficacy and safety of treatment, parents' religion, intellectual level, and economic situation affected neglect reporting propensity. Definitions of medical neglect for common diseases must be standardized. Training of lay caretakers of ill children and communication of clear and reasonable expectations are necessary to help prevent medical neglect.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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