Domestic Violence Doesn't Always Look Like We Think

"'I know those bones!' I thought to myself, looking at a tweet. It was an X-ray of the broken hand of a patient whom I had treated in my emergency department a few weeks prior. The image had no identifying information that would violate anyone’s privacy, but it was a remarkable and strange feeling to recognize a person by an X-ray. But what shook me was the commentary that accompanied the image: It said the pattern of this particular fracture was highly suspicious for intimate partner violence. I had not remotely considered that possibility when treating the patient. It had been what we physicians call 'a good story'—meaning that it was credible, and that my physical findings matched the description of what the patient said had caused it (an item falling). I didn’t suspect a thing."



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