Legal and Ethical Issues of Reporting Abuse in Both Children and the Elderly

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Reporting abuse has been a legal and ethical dilemma for years in the healthcare system. Some physicians, nurses, and other healthcare workers are quick to report abuse while others are more reluctant to report abuse in fear of overreacting to an occurrence. This leaves children and the elderly in unknown state of protection from their abusers.
While these medical personnel are reluctant to report abuse, there are approximately 2,000 reported deaths in children due to abuse each year. With the elderly, the number of deaths is uncertain. In the case of the elderly, medical examiners have difficulty separating possible abuse from normal health issues and injuries. It is noted that most senior citizens that report abuse generally
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Hospitals incur more than $70 million in costs regarding the abuse and neglect against children. These numbers only include those cases that are reported, it is unknown what the true numbers of cases each year. Many children are never brought to a medical facility for care or die before receiving any medical assistance for the injuries they receive.
Reporting elderly abuse and neglect is typically more difficult for an attending physician. The abuse and/or neglect may be more varied than as in the cases of children. Elderly abuse and neglect is not just physical or sexual. Types of abuse for the elderly include financial exploitation, emotional abuse, caregiver neglect, deprivation, and/or confinement. The elderly can also self-neglect when they can no longer take care of themselves. Most people think that self-neglect is reserved for elder persons with Alzheimer's or dementia, but there are elders that their health is slowly declining and is not recognized or acknowledged by their families or caregivers.
With the elderly population increasing as the baby boomers are entering their geriatric years, there will be an increase in abuse and neglect in this generation of individuals. With this being stated, there will also be less individuals to care for this population and more probability for abuse or neglect to go undetected or overlooked. The elderly are most likely to die within a year after abuse or neglect events have been reported to officials. This is

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