THE WAN FACE of Lisa Steinberg, hair slightly disheveled, touched the nation's heart and brought child abuse to the forefront of attention. Although Lisa's story is a tragedy, perhaps a greater sorrow is the knowledge that approximately three such deaths occur every day.
Although, as Richard D. Krugman, MD, of the Kempe National Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect in Denver, Colo, wrote in a recent editorial, "We should recognize as our highest priority the prevention of all forms of physical abuse" (N Engl J Med. 1989;320:531-532), it is still important to recognize child abuse when death is not prevented. One reason is to protect siblings.
Another, successful prosecution, "may have a relatively low priority," according to Krugman, but "a higher priority would be... systematic, meticulous efforts to study child deaths.... All professionals treating children need to learn from their failures."
American Academy of Pediatrics