How Important Are Radiologists in Identifying Elder Abuse?

Posted on Dec 27, 2012

A study that was recently presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) suggests that radiologists may have an important role to play in identifying suspected elder abuse. The study found that radiologists may have begun to identify a pattern of injuries that could indicate abuse in people age 60 and over. 

Researchers looked at the medical records of about 1,100 elderly abuse victims and found that the most common injuries included:

  • Physical trauma to the face
  • Dental trauma
  • Subdural hematoma or blood in the space between the outer layer and middle layers of the covering of the brain
  • Eye and larynx trauma
  • Rib fractures
  • Upper extremity injuries 

Additionally, when comparing elderly people who were abused to elderly people who had been accidentally injured, researchers allegedly found that victims of elderly abuse were more likely to have brain, head or neck injuries. Subdural hemorrhages were the cause of death in about one third of elderly abuse cases. 

Researchers hope that identifying the likely signs of physical abuse among the elderly will lead doctors to become more aware of the potential problem of abuse and report cases of elder abuse. It is currently thought that elder abuse is dramatically underreported. Specifically, the researchers who conducted this study believe that only about two percent of elderly abuse cases are reported to the proper authorities. Doctors may have the ability to change that. 

Our Louisville nursing home abuse attorneys hope that this study helps improve the reporting of elderly abuse and that anyone who has been abused by another person has a quick and complete recovery from their abuse injuries. 

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Matthew L. White
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Founder & Partner of Louisville Personal Injury Law Firm Gray & White Law