The purpose of the medical examination is to:
- Ensure the child is healthy
- Provide medical evaluation, diagnosis and treatment as needed
- Provide education to the child and family, and
- Collect forensic materials for the investigation, if appropriate
- Reassure kids that their bodies are normal, healthy, and safe, and address any worries
The Child Abuse Intervention Department of Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital provides specialty medical evaluations for children suspected of being abused. The medical exam takes place in a welcoming, child friendly room. The appointment will include a medical history from the child’s caregiver, as well as from the child. The child will receive a thorough head to toe examination. This examination will also include an external inspection of the genital area. It is important to understand that the child’s examination is different and less invasive than an adult examination.
A special instrument called a colposcope is used during the examination. A colposcope is a piece of specialized equipment that provides light and magnification. It allows the medical provider to see the child’s genital and anal areas more closely, but it never touches the child’s body and is not felt by the child.
For most children the examination is not painful, but nevertheless your child may be worried or anxious about the examination. The medical staff will take as much time as necessary to help your child through the examination, explaining every step along the way. Children are never forced to complete examinations. We will guide them through the process, but the child is in charge during our appointments.