EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire wants its doctors to be more aware of child abuse when diagnosing the cause of children's injuries.
A new child advocacy care group is making sure doctors are comfortable confronting child abuse cases.
For pediatrician Dr. Jim Haigh addressing the issue of child abuse is hard especially when doctors are tempted to trust the parents and caregivers.
“It's difficult for those of us who care so much about kids to think that it could even happen in the first place,” said Haigh.
However, Haigh said it's important to feel comfortable recognizing and taking action in a potentially abusive situation.
Haigh said the clinic is working towards having all doctors feel comfortable confronting child abuse cases by outlining a clear procedure.
“It's an area that things can be very subtle at times,” explained Haigh. “They can be intimidating from a care provider standpoint and having that back-up and a system in place is very, very helpful because you know where to turn.”
Emergency medicine physician Dr. Kevin Drechsel said having procedures in place may even prevent deaths.
Drechsel said, “We need to be on guard for any type of child abuse because, heaven forbid, there may be some subtle signs that are there and if those don't get picked up something more tragic may happen.”
Drechsel said the new child advocacy team involves social workers, police and spiritual care leaders all aimed at making doctors feel confident knowing how to address child abuse cases.
“What we're doing is try to solidify the process for reporting so all the other providers are more comfortable, if they have a suspected abuse case, that they'd be comfortable with the process and who to report to,” explained Drechsel.
Drechsel added that the raised awareness of how to deal with child abuse cases should help make the community safer.
“The biggest thing is we want to keep the children safe and to have a good process in place for providers and parents to known that the right thing is going to happen,” said Drechsel.
Mayo Clinic Health System is also working with a number of outside sources, including local police, the Chippewa Valley child advocacy care center and even with Mayo Clinic in Rochester in the hopes of making the whole community a safer place for children.