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Thu July 16, 2009
Court of Appeals says docs must report bumps, bruises to authorities
By Rick Pluta, Michigan Public Radio Network
LANSING, MI – The Michigan Court of Appeals is allowing a lawsuit to go forward against a Detroit hospital and two of its doctors for failing to report a suspected case of child abuse.
AUDIO: The sister of Rufus Lee Junior is suing the Children's Hospital of Michigan in Detroit and two of its doctors. The lawsuit says the doctors and, by extension, the hospital are liable for failing to report cuts and bruises on the boy.
The four year old was killed from a beating by his foster father.
The doctors were treating the boy for weight loss, and noticed marks on him. But they dismissed the possibility of abuse, in part, because the foster mother seemed so attentive and caring.
But the appeals court, in a split decision, said that's a determination for child welfare authorities to make -- if a hospital employee suspects abuse , it must be reported. A dissenting judge said the decision could force doctors to report every cut and bruise to authorities, or risk being sued.