Pediatric Abusive Head Trauma

1146 WordsJun 23, 20185 Pages
Pediatric abusive head trauma, also known as shaken baby syndrome, is a devastating form of abuse. It occurs when a young child is violently shaken. The repeated shaking back and forth motion causes the child’s brain to bounce within the skull, resulting in bruising and swelling. This intentionally inflicted injury causes trauma to the head and neck region, including cranial, cerebral, and spinal injuries. It occurs in infants and small children because the muscles of the neck region aren’t strong enough to go against the shaking force that occurs. Some make a complete recovery; others are left with debilitating handicaps, and in some cases death occurs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2012), states that among all the forms…show more content…
Pediatricians must recognize and respond to pediatric abusive head trauma, no matter how subtle the signs may be, in order to prevent further neurological injury. The appropriate reports must be made to child welfare services and law enforcement in order to make arrangements for the future safety of the child and deal with the legal ramifications of the abuser. Outcome and Prognosis Once the child is stabilized and all the immediate needs are meet, the end result is usually not very good for the child. The child is most often times left with debilitating conditions that require round the clock care. Long-term morbidity in pediatric abusive head trauma patients is high. Neurological symptoms are usually the most common and can result in psychomotor retardation. Vision impairments related to the retinal hemorrhages can lead to many complicated vision problems (Ceballos, 2009). In the more subtle abusive head trauma cases, patients may present to their primary care physician with head circumference growth measurements that cross percentiles. In these cases chronic subdural hematoma and obstructive hydrocephalus must be considered. The infant may suffer cortical blindness, generalized hypertonia, have swallowing issues and require a feeding tube (Gordy & Kuns, 2013). Speech, occupational, and physical therapies will be needed to work with the child. The caregivers should be educated and instructed on the proper care of the child. The child may require partial or
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