Brittle Bones or Fragile Bone Syndrome
unexplained fractures in children
When a child has unexplained fractures, the first response of CPS investigators, police, and child protection team (CPT) doctors is to blame the parents. For a child with bone injuries detectable on an x-ray, the classic signs of inflicted injury are:
- Fractures in various stages of healing
- Explanations by the parents that do not seem to adequately justify the injuries
In addition, certain types of bone injury are taken by many CPT doctors as indicators of child abuse in virtually all cases. An example of this is Classic Metaphyseal Lesions. Although recent developments in medical science refute this assertion, a vast number of doctors will report the case to Children’s Protective Services as a virtual certainty of inflicted injury when certain fractures or bone lesions are found.
Metabolic and Genetic Deficiencies
For years now, defense attorneys have raised defense issues related to bone abnormalities such as Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI), Osteopenia, Wormean Bones, Temporary Brittle Bone Disease and Rickets. In response, most Child Protection Team doctors will order genetic testing designed to rule out the majority of detectable OI cases. When the results are negative, CPS and courts often treat that as an indication that the child had healthy bones. This is faulty reasoning for a number of reasons. First, it is not possible to “rule out” Osteogenesis Imperfecta through genetic testing. It is only possible to determine whether the child suffers from a majority of the conditions classified as OI. Second, there are many metabollic conditions that would not show up using genetic testing. These metabolic conditions can provide a medical explanation for injuries that appear to be the result of inflicted injury. For example, in the Midwest, doctors are seeing an increasing number of infants with Vitamin D deficiencies. Some prominent Pediatric Radiologists are reporting near epidemic numbers of underdeveloped and fragile bones attributable to this and other deficiencies. Yet, many doctors will fail to test the child for Vitamin D or check other levels which would shed light on the child’s overall bone development.
Children with Vitamin D deficiencies, and a host of other metabolic issues, will present to the emergency room with fractures and bone injuries that mimic abuse. Children with bone deficiencies will often have multiple fractures with little or no bruising, and with little outward sign of pain or distress. At Kronzek & Cronkright, PLLC, we have litigated these issues in Michigan and elsewhere in the Midwest. We are finding cases of multiple fractures in infants of non-abusive parents with increasing frequency. Nonetheless, the Child Protection Team doctors, CPS, and courts are very reluctant to accept the notion that children with multiple fractures may not have been abused.
Mistakes Parents Make
Parents being investigated for abuse need the assistance of an attorney familiar with the inner workings of the child protection system. Typically, a multiple fracture case begins when a parent becomes aware of irritability or perhaps a bruise on the infant or young child. Often, they take the child to the family physician and are referred to the emergency room of a local hospital. The emergency room physician orders an x-ray and discovers a fracture, which the parents were not aware of. Remember that an unexplained injury is almost always treated as abuse by a doctor or CPS investigators. Once the doctors and CPS begin to assume abuse, they will press the parents for explanations.
Parents want to be helpful and will often engage in speculation as to what might have happened that would explain the fracture. When doctors, nurses, or CPS investigators hear words like, “maybe I picked him up by the arms,” or “maybe I patted her too hard when I was burping her,” they treat those words as confessions by the parents that they have abused their child even if they don’t believe that the statement explains the injury adequately. A speculative explanation such as this is almost always treated as an indication of abuse.
Parents should never speculate as to what caused an injury when they have no actual knowledge. Once a parent understands that they are dealing with a child with multiple fractures, they should decline to talk to CPS investigators without an attorney present. The same is true of police. A parent should never talk to police about injuries to their child without counsel present. There is only one reason that police would show up and want to ask questions about your child’s injuries; that is, they suspect abuse and are investigating the possibilities of arresting you.
If you have a child with unexplained injuries or multiple fractures, it is highly likely that CPS will attempt to terminate your parental rights of your injured child and possibly all other children that you have parented or will parent in the future. Furthermore, parents can be charged with criminal child abuse, which can lead to jail or prison time. You will need the help of a skilled defense attorney. The attorneys at Kronzek & Cronkright, PLLC are tireless advocates for falsely accused parents. We maintain a high level of specialized training and have extensive experience in helping parents maintain their parental rights. We have an large network of medical professionals that we use as expert witnesses in defense of parents.
You should consult with us immediately if any of the following has occurred:
- You discover that you have a child with multiple fractures.
- You discover that your child has injuries that you cannot explain without speculating.
- You have been contacted by CPS about your child’s injuries.
- You have been contacted by police about your child’s injuries.
- Your visitation of your child in the hospital has been restricted in some way.
- You are summoned to come to a group meeting or a team meeting to discuss your child’s treatment or injuries.
Dont wait. You need experienced, competent, and unafraid attorneys by your side whenever you are dealing with Children’s Protective Services and unexplained fractures in children. Our attorneys are available 24 hours a day at 1 866-766-5245.