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Child Abuse Negl. 2002 Aug;26(8):751-61.

Medical neglect of a child: challenges for pediatricians in developing countries.

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Department of Pediatrics, Ankara University Medical School, Cebeci, Ankara, Turkey.



To conceptualize the underlying causes of the medical neglect of children in a developing country and to provide suggestions for the management of neglect by pediatricians.


A case history of a 4-year-old boy from Turkey with neglect of the required treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia is used to examine the causes and management of medical neglect.


Although epidemiological studies on child neglect are lacking, this case exemplifies how in DEVELOPING countries, reasons for neglect or non-compliance with medical recommendations and the roles and actions taken by the health care and the social service systems may differ from western populations. Common to both western and developing countries, the characteristics of the child, family, and society may be reasons for medical neglect. However, cultural fatalistic beliefs profoundly present in the developing world may also contribute to the medical neglect of a child. Identification of the neglect, a comprehensive, multidisciplinary assessment emphasizing the strengths within the family and the society, and the determination of the pediatric team to act in the best interest of the child may result in resolution of the neglect even in circumstances where resources within systems are not sufficient.


In developing countries, increased emphasis on child neglect, its prompt recognition and management within the pediatric profession as well as at a health care and social service system levels are needed to address this prevalent and potentially fatal child health problem.

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