Several years ago Ruth came in in tears, little Pip in tow. The thing was, Ruth and David had not been getting on for ages, had been separated for months, and were in the opening skirmishes of a divorce. Pip had just been to Dad's for the weekend. Although more than two years old, Pip was still in pull ups most of the time. Potty training had not, after all, been high on anybodies agenda.
So on Friday night Pip had gone to visit Daddy. Daddy had pulled down the pull ups (something he had never, hitherto, been called on to do). Pip's nether parts were very red. Daddy took Pip to A&E. After a cursory examination by a locum Paediatric consultant the redness was pronounced to be a scald. Daddy said it was like this when Pip came to him, so Mummy must have done it.
Police Officers and Social Workers were dragooned in, and Mummy stood accused. By the time she attended surgery on Monday, just three days after the initial allegation, Pip's skin had a normal healthy pinkness to it and was literally as smooth as the babies bottom it was and had always been. (Well toddler's bottom by now obviously...)
Now I know I'm only an humble GP, but, in my experience, scalds of the nature alleged do not clear up in such a timeframe. And scalded kids do not permit an examination with the calm nonchalance Pip displayed on this visit. Ruth begged me to write a letter to that effect with which she might arm her lawyers, but it was no good. Dr Locum Consultant had confirmed Pip's Non-Accidental Injury, and who was I to say different.
The feuding between Ruth and David carried on over the next few years, largely acted out in alegation and counter over the care and welfare of their children, with him overfeeding them, her neglecting their hygeine.... and so on and so forth.
As of now Pip and her siblings seem to have managed to grow up quite well despite their parent's best efforts. But as for their future relationships and well being I can't help but have some doubts.
Convinced as I am that the initial allegation was entirely false, subsequent behaviour on the part of both their parents,though not physically injurious, has likely left scars far deeper than any scald would have done.