Paper Suggests X-Ray Vision Can Detect Domestic Violence

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A new study gives physicians new and powerful ways to interpret X-rays and other physical evidence to detect signs of domestic violence, Slate reports. Jeremy Samuel Faust, a public health professor and emergency medicine physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, wrote for Slate about a new paper published in the journal Radiology that mimics earlier findings about detecting child abuse through unusual patterns in broken bones.

The journal article by Brigham and Women’s emergency radiologist Dr. Bharti Khurana and colleagues tries to quantify what types of arm and leg fractures are more commonly associated with domestic violence as defensive injuries less obvious than a blackened eye or broken nose. Because victims tend to underreport violence when asked by health care providers, radiologists and other medical professionals may have “the clarity of vision” to see the truth, Faust writes. But along with that comes a need for protocols on how to act on that knowledge and not turn innocent injuries into a criminal inquiry.

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