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Psychological Abuse of Children in Health Care: The Issues

Stuart M. Finch, MD
JAMA. 1985;254(24):3483-3484. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03360240097049.
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This multiauthored monograph is devoted to those factors that will produce or prevent psychological abuse in children or adolescents who are undergoing medical or surgical treatment on an inpatient or outpatient basis.

As several of the authors point out, helping children through procedures will often shorten the illness or hospitalization and, in the long run, save money. Also not to be ignored is the traumatic effect on youngsters of poor approaches, either by omission or commission. These facts have been substantiated by many studies, and the references in the monograph are numerous.

Perhaps one of the basic problems in this area is the relative lack of knowledge about the emotional development and needs of children and adolescents on the part of medical and paramedical personnel. Comparatively little time is devoted to this topic in medical schools or in nonpsychiatric residencies. If additional education along these lines could be provided for


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