Daddy It Hurts: A Poem About Child Abuse

May 14, 2009

One of the most difficult aspects of working the Emergency Room is seeing abuse. We see domestic violence (spouse beating), rape and the most difficult of all, child abuse. Someone sent me this poem that I wanted to share with you – and even though you have may have seen it before, I encourage you to read it again. Child abuse is one of those things which is 100% preventable. Maybe you might know someone that you could help and maybe this might encourage you to do something about it.

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My name is Chris

I am three,

My eyes are swollen

I cannot see,

I must be stupid

I must be bad,

What else could have made

My daddy so mad?

I wish I were better

I wish I weren’t ugly,

Then maybe my mommy

Would still want to hug me.

I can’t do a wrong

I can’t speak at all

Or else I’m locked up

All day long.

When I’m awake I’m all alone

The house is dark

My folks aren’t home

When my mommy does come home

I’ll try and be nice,

So maybe I’ll just get

One whipping tonight.

I just heard a car

My daddy is back

From Charlies bar

I hear him curse

My name is called

I press myself

Against the wall

I try to hide

From his evil eyes

I’m so afraid now

I’m starting to cry

He finds me weeping

Calls me ugly words,

He says its my fault

He suffers at work

He slaps and hits me

And yells at me more,

I finally get free

And run to the door

He’s already locked it

And I start to bawl,

He takes me and throws me

Against the hard wall

I fall to the floor

With my bones nearly broken,

And my daddy continues

With more bad words spoken,

‘I’m sorry!’, I scream

But its now much to late

His face has been twisted

Into a unimaginable shape

The hurt and the pain

Again and again

O please God, have mercy!

O please let it end!

And he finally stops

And heads for the door

While I lay there motionless

Sprawled on the floor

My name is Chris

I am three,

Tonight my daddy

Murdered me

And you can help

Sickens me to the soul,

And if you read this

and don’t pass it on

I pray for your forgiveness

Because you would have to be

One heartless person

To not be affected

By this Poem

And because you are affected,

Do something about it!

  • Children ages 0-3 are the most likely to experience abuse. About 1 in 50 U.S. infants are victims of nonfatal child abuse or neglect in a year, according to the first national study of the problem in that age group done by the CDC  along with The Federal Administration for Children and Families.
  • 1,500 children die every year from child abuse and neglect. That is just over 4 fatalities every day.
  • 79% of the children killed are younger than 4.

To learn more about Child Abuse click here.

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Pro-Life/Pro-Choice? The Day When It Didn’t Matter

April 6, 2009

In the medical field, we are just like everyone else in that we have our own religious, political and social views. We all have our own set of moral values just like anyone else. But at the same time, you have to know when to put them aside. There is a time for intellectual debate and then there is the time for understanding, even if it goes against your deepest moral fibers. Today was a day that tested many of us in the ER.

Heather came into my ER today with her husband seeking help for a severe pain she was having in her abdomen. She tells me that this pain started today and has been constant for the past few hours. She describes the pain as a dull feeling across the whole abdomen, but hasn’t had any nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. She hasn’t had any fever either, no shortness of breath and no back pain. She has never felt anything quite like this before in fact. She is otherwise a healthy young woman in her mid-20’s who has just given birth to their second child about 6 months ago.

During the course of testing in the ER, it became obvious that she would benefit from having a CT scan (CAT scan). As a woman, it would be necessary to first be sure that she wasn’t pregnant because of the extreme harm that could come to a developing fetus if exposed to all that radiation.  I had asked her if she could be pregnant and she said it was very unlikely. She seemed a little sad when she answered that question, but not to the point that I felt the need to ask. We still checked a pregnancy test to be sure though.

And … it was positive. Hmm, interesting I thought. I guess that might help explain the stomach ache, but not in the way that I initially expected it turned out. I went in to the room to deliver what I hoped would be good news (you can never be sure) and received my next surprise. Heather had undergone an abortion this morning. Just a small detail that she forgot to mention I suppose.

Heather was 8 weeks pregnant this morning when she and her husband went to an inner city clinic to have this pregnancy erased. She didn’t want to bring it up because it was a very private and extremely difficult decision that she and her husband had to make. It certainly explained why they were so quiet and reserved. She cried when she told me about the procedure and her husband looked to be grieving as well.

As difficult as it was for them, I had to understand what exactly was done because abortions, even when done in appropriate clinics, still have some serious risks associated with them. She cried when she told me how after they had numbed her private area that they hooked her up to a vacuum suction and that it was over in seconds.

I held her hand feeling the remorse and sadness in her heart. Although it wasn’t necessary, she tried to explain why she felt they had to do it, “We just had a baby 6 months ago and I just wouldn’t be able to handle having another one so soon. I know I should have been more careful, I know … I just couldn’t.” I tried my best to reassure her without judging her, without criticizing her.  Then her pain started to get better, almost all on its own.

Before long it was time for them to go home. I went into their room one last time to go over things that would indicate an emergency requiring her to return.  She took me by surprise and gave me a hug. They both then told me how much anguish they had been in and how much fear they had of being judged. They appreciated how we had all treated them with compassion, with empathy and without prejudice.

Sometimes the pain in our hearts expresses itself in strange ways. Was it the grief she had over losing her child, over making a decision she would possibly regret for the rest of her life, was that the reason behind her pain? Incidentally, all of her tests came back normal and when I called them the next day to check on her condition, her husband told me they were both getting better.

We all do things that we regret because we are all human with a limited perspective, with the potential to be weak in the face of great trials or overwhelming circumstances. I was grateful not to have been in her circumstances and that I didn’t have to make that decision. I just wonder if the rest of the world has the heart to step back the next time they meet someone who has made a choice with which they disagree. They won’t have to live with the pain the rest of their lives the way others do.

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