Child Abuse in the 1950

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Child Abuse
When you read articles over child abuse and see the damage that has been caused and what has become of child abuse in today’s society the result is sickening. Child abuse has become a more common thing in today’s society. The fact that there are people in this world, who not only abuse but also neglect their children without consequence, because they are not caught, is even worse. Thankfully, there are many ways today to help save a child who suffers from child abuse. Child protection in America has been in action since the colonial period; “The history of child protection in America is divisible into three eras. The first era extends from colonial times to 1875 and may be referred to as the era before organized child protection. The second era spans 1875 to 1962 and witnessed the creating and growth of organized child protection through nongovernmental child protection societies. The year 1962 marks the beginning of the third or modern era: the era of government-sponsored child protective services.”(Myers, 1). Since the 1950s many laws have been implemented in order to protect children and keep them safe in our country. Children have become increasingly safer over the past fifty years, largely because of the effect of Henry Kempe’s article, “The Battered Child Syndrome” which lead to more informed doctors, better media coverage, and more effective protection and reporting laws. John Caffey was a pediatric radiologist born in 1895. He later became known as the “father of pediatric radiology” (Girdany, 1978). In 1946, Caffey released an article called “Multiple Fractures in the Long Bones of Infants Suffering from Chronic Subdural Hematoma” based on long bone fractures in infants. In his study he examined “6 patients who exhibited 23 fractures and 4 contusions of long bones.”(Caffey) in which he concluded suffered from chronic subdural hematoma. Although he could not prove anything, his observations seemed to be unexplained to say the least, “There was neither clinical nor roentgen evidence to support the idea that pre-existing systemic or localized skeletal disease weakened the bones and made them unusually vulnerable to trauma.”(Caffey). With that observation he came to the conclusion that “the long bones were injured and fractured during convulsive seizures. There is little evidence to support such a postulate. In not a single case did fresh fractures appear immediately following the convulsive seizure and complete fractures occurred in patients who only had mild convulsions . . . [To] our knowledge, fractures of convulsive origin in the long bones have never been demonstrated in the common severe convulsive diseases of infancy and childhood such as lead poisoning, meningitis, cerebral neoplasm and hypocalcemic tetancy.”(Caffey) but he still had doubts, because there was little evidence to support such theories. He came to the conclusion that “the fractures appear to be of traumatic origin but the traumatic episodes and the casual mechanism remain obscure.”(Caffey). Caffey’s work and the article he published hinted at possibility of child abuse in such cases that he treated but could never be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. After the publishing of “Multiple Fractures in the Long Bones of Infants Suffering from Chronic Subdural Hematoma,” it grasped the attention of many doctors who became interested in the signs of child abuse. In 1962 pediatrician Henry Kempe and his colleagues published the article known as “The Battered Child Syndrome”. “Kempe played leading role in bringing child abuse to national attention during the 1960’s and 1970’s.”(Myers, 455). In Kempe’s work he stated “the battered-child syndrome is a term used by us to characterize a clinical condition in young children who have received serious physical abuse, generally from a parent or foster parent.” (Kempe, Silverman, Steele, Droegemueller, and Silver, 143). To collect data to further his research, Kempe and his fellow colleagues...
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