FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - A North Texas pediatric hospital has reported its third death from "severe abuse" in less than a month as it has seen a spike in these types of cases during the coronavirus pandemic.
According to Cook Children's Medical Center, it has seen eight patients related to abuse since March 17 and that three of those patients died from their injuries. The hospital said it usually sees about six deaths related to child abuse a year.
The latest victim was a 3-year-old boy who died early Sunday morning. The Tarrant County Medical Examiner identified him as Amari Boone and ruled his death a homicide.
Officials with the hospital made mention that the spike in cases has happened as stay-at-home orders were put into place around the area due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"It's concerning to see this spike coincide with the pandemic, especially without knowing when it will come to an end or the ultimate toll it will take on our communities," said Anu Partap, M.D. director for the Center for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect at Cook Children's. "With stay-at-home orders in effect, coupled with the loss of jobs, support systems and routines, the results can be disastrous."
According to doctors, they foresaw the increase in abuse cases after seeing what the recession in 2008/2009 did to households around the U.S. During that time, Cook Children's reported it saw more deaths caused by head trauma from abuse than vehicle crashes.
"We know that families are under more stress, whether related to income or children being out of school. There's a lot of pressure on parents and caregivers right now," said Jamye Coffman, M.D., medical director of the Cook Children's Center for Prevention and Child Abuse and Neglect and the CARE team. "What's most concerning for us is that we saw a similar rise in child abuse during the recession. We don't want to see that again."
According to the hospital, it is observing Child Abuse Prevention month in April by planting pinwheels outside of the medical center for the 2,055 patients it had last year due to child abuse.
Cook Children's says Childhelp.org provides resources for both children and parents. Anyone who needs help can also call the National Child Abuse Hotline at 1.800.422.4453.
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