When concerns of child abuse are present, a child may receive a medical exam at Kids FIRST. This exam is provided by a doctor, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant with specialized training in child abuse exams.
Medical exams are important for a number of reasons:
To document any physical evidence
To document the child’s statement to a doctor
To diagnose and treat any health problems related to the abuse including injuries or infections
To reassure the child and parent that the child’s body is safe and healthy
A medical exam begins with a one-on-one conversation with the child’s parent/guardian, in which the doctor collects information and answers questions before the exam. The doctor then meets with the child to conduct a head-to-toe physical examination, which may include photo documentation.
This exam is very different from a standard visit to a primary care physician. The child medical exam closely resembles a well-child exam, with the added use of a special light and camera to take a look at areas that may have been injured at the time of abuse. The exam does not hurt-- we do not administer shots or blood samples during this exam.