What is the role of photodocumentation in the workup of suspected physical child abuse?

Updated: Apr 24, 2017
  • Author: Angelo P Giardino, MD, MPH, PhD; Chief Editor: Caroly Pataki, MD  more...
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Photodocumentation of cutaneous injuries, such as burns, bite marks, bruising, or other injuries, is very helpful in cases of child abuse. Photodocumentation, when used as an adjunct to standard medical written documentation, allows consulting physicians, child protective services (CPS) workers, law enforcement personnel, attorneys, and others to view and better comprehend the injuries. Photographs of injuries are very helpful in legal proceedings for protecting the child and determining guilt. Photodocumentation should be performed in accordance with institutional policies and procedures and should be treated as protected health information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

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