Factors Associated With Referral of Children With a Femur Fracture to a Social Worker by an Orthopedist for Suspected Child Abuse : Pediatric Emergency Care

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Factors Associated With Referral of Children With a Femur Fracture to a Social Worker by an Orthopedist for Suspected Child Abuse

Yonai, Yaniv MD; Ben Natan, Merav RN, PhD; Finkel, Binyamin MD; Klein, Adi MD; Berkovich, Yaron MD∗,§

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Pediatric Emergency Care 38(11):p 613-616, November 2022. | DOI: 10.1097/PEC.0000000000002855

Abstract

Objectives 

This article explores factors associated with referral of children with a femur fracture to a social worker by an orthopedist for suspected child abuse.

Methods 

This retrospective chart review study included 131 children younger than 5 years who sustained a femur fracture and were hospitalized in a major 495-bed hospital located in the northern-central Israel from 2009 to 2021. Data on children who were referred to a social worker by the treating orthopedist and those who were not were compared.

Results 

More than half the children studied (58.8%, n = 77) were referred to a social worker by an orthopedist for suspected child abuse. However, only a fifth of these cases were eventually reported to the authorities. Male sex (odds ratio [OR], 2.44), younger age of the child (OR, 0.95), and spiral femur fracture type (OR, 5.30) increased the likelihood of referral. In addition, treatment of the child by an orthopedic specialist (as compared with an orthopedic resident; OR, 3.12) and lengthier professional experience of the treating orthopedist (OR, 1.08) increased the likelihood of referral.

Conclusions 

Younger male children presenting with a spiral femur fracture have a higher likelihood to be referred to a social worker because of suspected child abuse by treating orthopedic specialists with lengthier professional experience. The findings point to the need to improve the capacity of orthopedic residents to report child abuse.

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