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Medical condition leads to child abuse accusations

Some Illinois parents who are going through a child custody dispute have found themselves falsely accused of abusing their children. False accusations of child abuse are more common than many people realize. In one recent case in Texas, a father was accused of physically abusing his infant daughter for bone fractures that were eventually proven to be the result of a rare medical condition.

When his child was 3 months old, the Texas man took his daughter to a hospital after he heard a popping sound while changing her diaper. The X-rays showed multiple fractures, which doctors believed were indicative of child abuse. However, the child's mother and nanny agreed that they had never seen any hints that baby had been abused. Additionally, the child's pediatrician did not see signs of abuse during exams. After the father was accused of child abuse, he was not allowed to spend time with his daughter without court-appointed supervision. Eventually, the couple discovered that their daughter had Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a connective tissue disorder that can cause low bone density, and the charges were dropped.

In another family, two parents lost physical custody of twin daughters after they sustained unexplained fractures. In that case, the children were diagnosed with the same connective tissue disorder. According to the Ehlers-Danlos Foundation, many parents of children with the condition have been accused of child abuse because of the injuries their children suffered.

During a child custody dispute, the child's well-being is paramount. If one parent has been accused of child abuse, it's important to establish that any physical damage has not been caused by a medical condition. If a child has multiple unexplained fractures that occurred over time, the child should be tested for Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.

Source: WFAA, "Rare bone disease leads to bogus child abuse allegations", Janet St. James, November 15, 2013

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