The Child at Risk: Child Protection and the Anesthetist
Anesthetists may encounter children who may have been physically or sexually abused. There are ethical and legal obligations to protect the child in this circumstance. The anesthetist may be the first person to notice the signs of child abuse during the preoperative assessment or in theater. Alternatively, the anesthetist may be present when other staff notice signs, and rarely a child may disclose abuse to the anesthetist. Anesthetists involved in resuscitation or intensive care may also notice suspicious injuries. There are several risk factors that increase the risk of abuse, which usually may cause injuries with a characteristic pattern. Once abuse is suspected, it must be reported. Most centers have local arrangements and child protection teams who can facilitate this.
KeywordsNon accidental injury Detection Suspicious fractures Child abuse injury patterns
- Child protection and the anaesthetist: safeguarding children in the operating theatre. Royal College of Anaesthetists. 2014. https://www.rcoa.ac.uk/document-store/child-protection-and-the-anaesthetist. Accessed July 2019.