Intended for healthcare professionals

Child abuse and the dermatological differential diagnosis

Child abuse encompasses a spectrum from minor neglect of the child and emotional abuse by threat and ridicule, through to serious nonaccidental injury resulting in physical harm, and sexual abuse. These maltreatments can produce cutaneous abnormalities that may mimic true disease. Dermatological diagnoses must be considered and excluded. There are numerous reports of cutaneous entities which have been misdiagnosed as injury secondary to abuse. While it is vital that suspected cases are reported, the implications of a false accusation of child abuse are far reaching.
Dermatology in practice 2000; 8(5): 6–8
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