Research Shows More Child-Abuse Head Trauma in Recession
Wills, Rick, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Cases of head trauma from child abuse increased dramatically in hospitals in Pittsburgh and three other cities after the recession started, according to a study by Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.
"We knew this sort of abuse had gone up in Pittsburgh in 2008 -- it was a marked increase. That year, the hospital treated more kids for abusive head trauma than for non-abusive head trauma from things like car accidents," said Dr. Rachel Berger, a child-abuse specialist and pediatrician at the Lawrenceville hospital.
In 2008, Children's Hospital treated 36 cases of children with head trauma from abuse; 11 children died.
"We had never had more than 20 cases in one year before 2008," said Berger, the study's lead researcher.
The study included 512 patients -- from 9-day-olds to 6-year- olds in Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Seattle and Columbus, Ohio.
Cases of head trauma from child abuse -- also known as "shaken- baby syndrome" -- rose from six per month between Jan. 1, 2004, and Nov. 30, 2007, before the recession; to 9.3 per month between December 2007 and December 2009, after the recession, the study found.
Researchers collected and compared demographic and clinical data for cases of abusive head trauma from Jan. …