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Pediatr Emerg Care. 2019 Jun;35(6):e107-e109. doi: 10.1097/PEC.0000000000001686.

Things Are Not Always What They Seem: Two Cases of Child Maltreatment Presenting With Common Pediatric Chief Complaints.

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Department of Pediatrics and Divisions of.
Emergency Medicine and.


We describe 2 cases of child maltreatment who presented as common pediatric conditions: preseptal cellulitis and gastroenteritis. The first case is an 8-year-old girl who presented with progressive right eye pain, swelling, and discharge. She was initially treated for preseptal cellulitis, but eye cultures ultimately grew Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Further investigation revealed sexual abuse by a male family member. The second case is a 2-year-old previously healthy girl who presented with 6 hours of emesis, lethargy, and abdominal pain. Initially attributed to viral gastroenteritis, her serum blood urea nitrogen and creatinine were above what was expected for her clinical course, and she later developed signs of peritonitis. She was ultimately found to have a large bladder wall defect secondary to inflicted blunt abdominal trauma. These cases are presented to emphasize the need for pediatricians to consider child abuse even when patients present with common pediatric complaints.

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