Many radiology residents unable to ID signs of child abuse

Radiology residents aren’t being properly trained to recognize signs of child abuse in imaging results, according to research presented at the American Roentgen Ray Society (ARRS) 2019 Annual Meeting in Honolulu.

More than 900 radiology residents were asked to assess one of a collection of 65 nonaccidental trauma cases from 2014 to 2018. Average correctly called rates were collected each year, with the numbers ranging from 7% to 79%. The average rate over the course of the study was 37.6%.

The researchers viewed these statistics as a sign that radiology residency programs are not properly teaching residents to recognize and report signs of child abuse. This is important, they noted, because there is always a chance a resident will be the only healthcare provider present who can protect the patient in question from additional abuse.  

“With the increasing rates of child abuse reported year over year, the observation and interpretation of the imaging findings associated with child abuse is of the upmost importance” study author Priya Sharma, MD, said in a prepared statement from the ARRS.

In February, researchers published a related study in Radiology exploring the “unique position” radiologists are in when it comes to helping victims of intimate partner violence.