The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

November 6, 2012

Ignored abuse woes

Daily Item

---- — Kudos to Pat Bruno for his dead-on description of the child abuse situation in this state (Saturday, 'My Turn' column.) As a pediatric neurosurgeon at Geisinger from 1987 to 2003, I saw the pathetically inadequate protection offered to children by the courts and by state law. On one occasion, a 5-month infant with cigarette burns all over his body and with smear subdural blood clots from direct head trauma was, after 10 days, ordered to be returned to the parents who had injured him, by a judge in a nearby county; it was his ruling that children should be re-united with parents as a first priority. I wrote him a letter, pointing out that the boy had a 50 percent risk of death within one year if his order stood, and telling him that when the child returned to us after another injury, he would be immediately responsible. He did rescind the order. I know of sexually-molested children who have been sent back to the homes whence they came - by judicial order dictated by state ordinance. And child neglect in Pennsylvania is not even considered abuse! The figures circulated from Harrisburg relating to the incidence of child abuse in this state are ridiculously low; factual figures constitute a state-wide shame, a political embarrassment. The current governor knew about these real figures when he was AG, and he did nothing. I anticipate that his administration will do nothing now, or in the future. Tough, kids.

Loren Amacher,