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MEDICAL MIMICS OF ABUSE

CONDITIONS ALIGNED WITH ABUSE SYMPTOMS

This non-comprehensive list contains medical conditions and traumatic events that can be misinterpreted as signs and symptoms of child abuse and neglect. Years of case data reveal that many of these conditions are often ignored by child abuse investigative teams. The number of medical mimics of abuse and neglect demonstrates a significant need for better adherence to diagnostic protocols. 

Intracranial Hemorrhages

Accidental Choking Episode

Accidental Injury

Aneurysm

Benign Enlargement of the Subarachnoid Spaces

Birth Trauma (Prolonged Labor, Forceps, Vacuum Extraction, C-section, etc)

Birth — 46% and 45% of vaginal births result in Subdural Hematoma & Retinal Hemorrhage, respectively

Blood Vessel Disorders (e.g., Arteriovenous Malformation or Aneurysm)

Coagulation Disorders

Congenital Defect

Coughing or Vomiting

Hemophilia

Henoch-Schonlein Purpura

Hydrocephalisis

Hypertension

Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy

Late Hemorrhagic Disease of the Newborn

Leukemia

Macrocephaly

Prematurity

Ruptured Vascular Malformation

Thrombocytopenia

Use of Anticoagulants (e.g., Heparin)

Use of Blood Thinners

Vaccine Reaction

Vascular Malformations

Vitamin D Deficiency 

Vitamin K Deficiency

Von Willebrand Disease

Retinal Hemorrhages

Accidental Choking Episode

Accidental Injury

Anemia

Arteriovenous Malformations

Birth Trauma (Prolonged Labor, Forceps, Vacuum Extraction, C-section, etc)

Birth — 46% and 45% of vaginal births result in Subdural Hematoma & Retinal Hemorrhage, respectively

Bleeding Disorders

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Cerebral Aneurysm

Coughing or Vomiting

Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation

Glutaric Aciduria Type 1

Henoch-Schonlein Purpura

Hypertension

Hypo- or Hypernatremia

Hypotension

Hypoxia

Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy

Increased Intracranial Pressure

Late Hemorrhagic Disease of the Newborn

Leukemia

Meningitis/Sepsis/Endocarditis

Osteogenesis Imperfecta

Papilledema

Prematurity

Retinal Disease (e.g., Infection, Hemangioma)

Retinal Exams in Premature Infants

Ruptured Vascular Malformation

Sub-acute Bacterial Endocarditis

Thrombocytopenia

Use of Anticoagulants (e.g., Heparin)

Vasculitis

Vitamin D Deficiency 

Vitamin K Deficiency

Fractures

Accidental Injury

Alagille Syndrome

Chondrodystrophies

Congenital Hydrocephalus

Congenital Insensitivity to Pain

Congenital Syphilis

Dysplastic Bone Abnormalities

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

Infantile Cortical Hyperostosis

Infantile Myofibromatosis

Infectious Conditions

Inherited Systemic Hyalinosis

Metabolic Bone Disease

Neuroblastoma

Nutritional Deficiencies

Osteogenesis Imperfecta

Osteomalacia

Osteomyelitis

Osteopenia

Osteoporosis

Perthes’ Disease

Radiological Motion Artifact

Scoliosis

Steroid Use

Temporary Brittle Bone Disease

Vitamin D Deficiency 

Vitamin K Deficiency

X-linked Hypophosphatemia 

Bruises

Accidental Injury

Coagulation Defect

Congenital Insensitivity to Pain

Contact Dermatitis and Allergic Reactions

Copper Deficiency

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

Erythema Multiforme Hypersensitivity Vasculitis

Glutaric Aciduria Type 2 

Hemophilia

Henoch-Schonlein Purpura

Hermansky-Pudlak Syndrome

Hyper-Pigmented Skin Lesions

Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura

Ingestion of Anticoagulants

Leukemia

Lice & Crabs

Marfan Syndrome

Menkes Disease

Millipedes Secretions

Mongolian Spots

Phytophotodermatitis

Seizures

Vitamin C Deficiency

Vitamin K Deficiency

Von Willebrand Disease

Burns

Accidental Burns

Chemical Burns (including commercial vinegar)

Chilblains

Dermatitis Herpetiformis

Diaper Dermatitis

Drug Eruption

Epidermolysis Bullosa

Impetigo (can cause cigarette-like burns)

Mechanical Abrasion

Phytophotodermatitis

Staphylococcal Scalded Skin Syndrome

Varicella

Failure to Thrive

Dubowitz Syndrome

Gastro Esophageal Reflux Association

Glutaric Aciduria Type 1

Metoclopramide

Pseudohypoaldosteronism

Severe Chronic Neutropenia

Short Bowel [Gut] Syndrome

Trifunctional Protein Deficiency