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Diagnosis of bone condition clears Dallas man of abuse charges

After a Texas man was accused of abusing his infant daughter, the injuries perceived as abuse were proven to be from a child's bone condition. Nine months after the initial report, the man was cleared of the allegations when doctors discovered the condition. The man was first suspected of abuse after doctors at a children's hospital determined the child had bone fractures that were "non-accidental injury." According to them, the pattern of fractures was indicative of child abuse, and police charged the man with second-degree felony injury to a child. His visitation rights were severely limited as a result.

The man denied any form of abuse, and the child's pediatrician and nanny stated they saw no sign that he had been abusing his daughter. The couple began searching for answers and even contacted a news organization. Doctors ruled out common bone disorders, such as osteogenesis imperfecta, which can lead to fractured bones in children. The couple suspected a vitamin D deficiency may have played a role in their daughter's injuries, but doctors found no evidence for this either.

Eventually, doctors diagnosed the girl with Ehlers-Danlos, or EDS, a common but often undetected, connective tissue disorder. EDS causes bones and joints to be more fragile, which makes bones fracture easily. The accused man's wife was also diagnosed with the condition. The breakthrough in their situation happened after a family from North Texas came forward with a similar story. Those parents were also suspected of abusing their twin daughters who suffered fractured bones. They lost custody of their children until after the diagnosis, which cleared them of the reported abuse.

Disputes over child custody and visitation rights can be stressful and emotional for everyone involved. A divorce, along with other circumstances, can cause disagreements over custody and the terms of visitation. In such cases, the services of a family law lawyer can help protect the best interests of the child.

Source: WFAA, "Rare bone disease leads to bogus child abuse allegations", Janet St. James, November 15, 2013

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Bruce Turner

In addition to his law degree, Bruce Turner has a master's degree in tax law and is Board Certified in Commercial Real Estate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

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