Rickets is a disorder resulting from a Vitamin D, calcium, or phosphate deficiency. It causes bones to become brittle or soft, and far more likely to break.
Daniel and Linda Dossey claimed in a recent child removal appeal that the condition is what is to blame for their child's broken bones, reports the News-Register. They took their infant to the emergency room after noticing that the child was holding its leg and acting fussy.
The diagnosis was a broken leg, plus three broken ribs and a broken arm bone. All were in the process of healing. The medical expert at trial said that the child showed no signs of rickets, and that the rib injuries were most often caused by squeezing the chest area with force.
The parents' attorneys blamed the injuries on a very difficult delivery, which necessitated that the child be turned, while still in the womb, to avoid a Caesarian section.
The child was not X-rayed at birth, making it possible that the injuries were consistent with the parents' story. The radiologist that diagnosed the breaks was unable to determine when the injuries happened, other than stating that they were at least two weeks old.
A defense expert, testifying via phone, stated his theory: that neonatal rickets had been misdiagnosed as child abuse. However, that still wouldn't explain the leg break.
The judge ruled against the couple, for now. Both of the couple's children will be placed in the state's custody. However, he did encourage them to pursue the matter and work with the state to get their children back.
If it was a misdiagnosis, it wouldn't be the first time such a thing happened. In April, a U.K. couple was acquitted of criminal charges, after they lost their son in 2009. He was found, after death, to have multiple bone fractures, which led to the parents being charged. After the posthumous diagnosis, the parents were acquitted, reports the Daily Mail. That couple also temporarily lost custody of a second child.
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