North Carolina law requires all adults to report suspected child abuse. This is especially important in the Emergency Room setting where healthcare providers have specialized training and experience in evaluating injuries and are mandated in this state to report to Child Protective Services suspected abuse or neglect. Further, North Carolina law protects the person reporting suspected abuse from any civil or criminal liability provided the report was made in good faith. Once a report is made, Child Protective Services will investigate and where abuse or neglect is substantiated, will take action to protect the child from further harm.
Unfortunately, the system of reporting broke down for 6 year old Ajamu "Man Man" Gaines, Jr., when in April 2003 he was brought to our local Emergency Room for a broken wrist. In doing x-rays and evaluating "Man Man," tests showed he not only had two bones broken in his wrist with inconconsistent explanations about how the injury happened, but he also had an old rib fracture and other signs of injuries with inconsistent explanations and different stages of healing. According to the Man Man's attorneys, Man Man's healthcare providers had a duty to report this to Child Protective Services and they did not. As a result, Man Man suffered continued abuse from his mother's boyfriend which landed him back in our local Emergency Department a few months later with a depressed skull fracture and brain damage, leaving the child with spastic quadriplegia and little understanding of what goes on around him.
A Cumberland County jury heard evidence in this case for five weeks, deliberated for nearly 4 days, and agreed with Man Man's attorneys, awarding $25 million dollars to Man Man and his father, Ajamu Gaines, Sr. A verdict that will assure that Man Man is taken care of for the rest of his life. Click Here to read the full article.