New state law to give doctors more training about child abuse he - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

New state law to give doctors more training about child abuse head trauma

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Dr. Stephen Wright (Source: Todd Hoyer, WAVE 3 News) Dr. Stephen Wright (Source: Todd Hoyer, WAVE 3 News)
Photos from showing injuries of child abuse victims (Source: Kosair Children's Hospital Photos from showing injuries of child abuse victims (Source: Kosair Children's Hospital
Gov. Steve Beshear after signing HB 157. Gov. Steve Beshear after signing HB 157.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A number of new laws went into effect on July 15 in Kentucky. One of them, HB 157, is a major step forward in ensuring medical professional receive continued training to recognize and prevent child abuse.

"We have a terrible problem in Kentucky," said Dr. Stephen Wright, medical director of Kosair Children's Hospital.

Pediatricians, radiologists, family practitioners, emergency medicine and urgent care physicians frequently interact with children who require routine or emergency medical care. Dr. Wright says there have been cases of child fatalities or near fatalities resulting from child abuse that might have been avoided if the attending physician had been specifically trained to recognize the signs of abuse and referred the case to child protective services.

[RELATED STORY: Beaten baby now focus of life support legal challenge

Kentucky data indicates that physical abuse of young children is the most lethal form of child maltreatment. From Fiscal Year 2009 to the present, there have been more than 100 children with life-threatening or fatal injuries resulting from abusive head trauma.

"One of the things we've noticed is that about half of them have seen some type of health care worker, many of them physicians within two weeks of the child coming into the hospital with fatal or life threatening injuries," said Dr. Wright.

A law passed in 2010 required similar training requirements for other child-serving or child-focused professionals and caregivers. HB 157 provides comparable training for physicians.

The law went into effect, as a baby in Louisville is on life support, after his father allegedly beat him. The father, Juan Alejandro Lopez Rosales, 24, is accused of beating his two-month-old infant, Isaac Lopez. A legal challenge continues over who should determine when the baby is taken off life support.

Dr. Wright says any child four months or younger shouldn't have bruises anywhere. A red flag of abuse is bruises on the torso, ears, neck, and genital area.

To learn more about the warning signs of abuse and prevention go to www.donthurtchildren.com

HB 157, sponsored by Representatives Addia Wuchner (R-Burlington/District 66) and Susan Westrom (D-Lexington/District 79).

For a list of the new laws that went into effect on July 15h in Kentucky, click here.

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