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Child Abuse

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Scenario Script
Scene 1

Scene takes place in a doctor’s office. Mrs. Thomas has brought in her 10-year-old son Michael because of an ankle sprain. As the doctor enters the room, Michael is sitting on the examination table in shorts and a T-shirt with a bare right foot and ankle. Mrs. Thomas is sitting in a chair.

Doctor: Hi there. You must be Michael. I’m Dr. Patel. How are you? [shakes Michael’s hand]

Michael: Okay.

Doctor: [turning to Mrs. Thomas] And are you Michael’s mom, Mrs. Thomas?

Mrs. Thomas: Yes, that’s correct.

Doctor: Nice to meet you. [extends hand to shake]

Mrs. Thomas: Nice to meet you, too. [shakes hands with doctor]

Doctor: [turning back to Michael] So, Michael, what’s going on? What brings you to the hospital today?

Michael: I hurt my ankle.

Doctor: What happened?

Michael: I was skateboarding and, I don’t know, I guess I just slipped or something…

Doctor: When did this happen?

Mrs. Thomas: He did it about three days ago but last night I noticed he was still limping, so I thought I ought to bring him in. I don’t think it’s broken, do you?

Doctor: Well, I don’t know. Let me take a closer look at it. [pulls over a chair, sits down facing Michael, and begins to examine ankle] Ok Michael, I’m going to examine your foot. Let me know if it hurts.

Michael: Ow, yeah, stop. Don’t touch it!

Mrs. Thomas: Michael, don’t be such a sissy! Sit still and let the doctor check you out.

Doctor: I’m sorry. Let me just try one more time. I’m going to try everting your foot and see if that hurts. [everts ankle]

Michael: Owwww! Yeah, c’mon, stop it!

Mrs. Thomas: MICHAEL! Sit still.

Doctor: [notices bruises in proximal fibular area, looks closer] You’ve got some more bruises here. What’s going on?

Michael: I guess I fell another time.

Mrs. Thomas: He’s a really clumsy kid. I keep telling him to stay off that skateboard, but he just doesn’t listen.

Doctor: [examines Michael’s arms and notices bruising] Michael, can you take your shirt off for me?

Mrs. Thomas: [getting a bit edgy] Doctor, that’s ok. We came in for the ankle. Could you get back to his ankle?

Doctor: Sure, but you know, he’s got some bruises. Some of these look new.

Mrs. Thomas: [getting more agitated] Doctor, I’m sorry, but his ankle… could you get back to that please?

Doctor: Well, okay. Whatever you say. Let me get an X-ray of that ankle and see what it shows. But in the meantime, Michael, you take care of yourself. Be careful!

Michael is sitting very still, looking down and not making eye contact. Scene fades out.

Scene 2

Scene takes place in a doctor’s office. Mrs. Thompson has brought in her 10-year-old son Michael because of an ankle sprain. As the doctor enters the room, Michael is sitting on the examination table in shorts and a T-shirt with a bare right foot and ankle. Mrs. Thompson is sitting in a chair.

Doctor: So, you are Michael. I am Dr. Gupta. Nice to meet you Michael. [shakes Michael’s hand] How are you doing today?

Michael: Okay.

Doctor: [turning to Mrs. Thompson] And are you Michael’s mom, Mrs. Thompson? Nice to meet you. [extends hand to shake]

Mrs. Thompson: Nice to meet you, also. [shakes hands with doctor]

Doctor: [turning back to Michael] So what brings you in today, Michael?

Michael: I hurt my ankle.

Doctor: What happened?

Michael: I was skateboarding and, I don’t know, I guess I just slipped or something…

Doctor: When did this happen?

Mrs. Thompson: He did it about three days ago but last night I noticed he was still limping and I thought I ought to bring him in. I don’t think it’s broken, do you?

Doctor: Well, let me take a look first. [pulls over a chair, sits down facing Michael, and begins to examine ankle] I’m just going to take a look at your foot. Is that sore?

Michael: Ow, yeah, stop. Don’t touch it!

Mrs. Thompson: Michael, don’t be such a sissy! Sit still and let the doctor take a look at you.

Doctor: That’s okay. Let me just do one more thing. I’m going to evert your foot. [everts ankle]

Michael: Owwww! C’mon, stop! Don’t touch it!

Mrs. Thompson: MICHAEL! Sit still.

Doctor: Okay, Michael, I won’t hurt you anymore. [notices bruise in proximal fibular area, looks closer] What happened here?

Michael: I don’t know, I guess I fell another time.

Mrs. Thompson: He’s a really clumsy kid. I keep telling him to stay off that skateboard, but he just doesn’t listen. His father gets so upset with him, sometimes.

Doctor: [scanning both of Michael’s legs, stopping over left femur] And here? Another fall?

Michael: Yeah, sure…

Mrs. Thompson: I told you, he’s clumsy. But could you please get back to his ankle?

Doctor: [continuing to examine Michael’s arms] Michael, can you take your shirt off for me please?

Mrs. Thompson: [getting a bit edgy] Doctor, we came in for his ankle. Could you please get back to his ankle?

Michael takes off his shirt at the Doctor’s insistence.

Doctor: [examines Michael, pausing over several spots on arms and back] Michael, you have a lot of bruises. Some are older than others… what’s been going on?

Mrs. Thompson: [getting more agitated] Doctor, could you please get back to his ankle? His father just wanted me to bring him in for his ankle. Please.

Doctor: Mrs. Thompson, I have some concerns. Michael has a lot of injuries and some of them seem to have occurred at different times. When we see that in a child we worry that perhaps the injuries were not all accidental.

Mrs. Thompson: What… what are you getting at?

Doctor: I’m not getting at anything. I am just saying that for Michael’s safety, we need to check a few things beyond his ankle. For this reason, I am going to have one of our social workers come and talk to you and Michael.

Mrs. Thompson: [getting more upset] You don’t have to do that. Really, it’s ok. Please.

Doctor: Actually, I do have to do that. It’s the law. The main reason I’m doing it is to be sure that Michael is safe at home. And I’m sure that is what you want, too. Raising kids can be very tough, sometimes we can all use a little help…

Mrs. Thompson slowly nods her head, looks at Michael a bit tearfully. Scene fades.

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