Description: This book addresses a disturbing and important subspecialty of dermatology: recognizing the clinical signs of child abuse. Dermatological conditions that may be confused with child abuse are discussed.
Purpose: The purpose is to alert pediatricians, pediatric dermatologists, and forensic experts to the signs of child abuse.
Audience: The audience is pediatricians and pediatric dermatologists. Family practitioners can also be included, although they are not listed as a target audience by the authors.
Features: The subject matter is best presented through the multitude of color clinical photographs, of bruises, bites, and burns. The difficulty in arriving at a correct diagnosis is appreciated by the level of complexity discussed by the authors. How does the clinician differentiate an innocent accident from actual child abuse? How does the clinician diagnosis child abuse in a child with a bleeding disorder? I felt overwhelmed after reading the book. I do not routinely include child abuse as part of my differential diagnosis for granuloma annular (the patch presentation can resemble a bruise).
Assessment: I am unaware of any dermatology references devoted exclusively to child abuse. This book achieves its purpose in enlightening dermatologists and pediatricians as to the broad range of skin manifestations due to child abuse and the medical diagnoses that must be considered and eliminated before the diagnosis of child abuse is made. The authors have created an important reference on a subject about which all physicians should be educated and alert. We do a disservice to our pediatric patients not to do otherwise.