It Wasn't Me


Between about 6PM and 9PM on most Sunday evenings, our emergency department seems to become more crowded with kids and their parents. It used to be less because Sundays were school nights, but now that the kids don’t have to be in school the following morning, the numbers seem to be increasing.

I’ve also noted a trend in the presenting complaints.

You see, due to many court orders governing divorced parents with custody rights, said custody of offspring must change hands at some point in the week. In our county, it appears that the courts like the children to be transferred between parents at 5PM on Sunday evenings.

Of course, after being in the custody of that other evil parent all week (or all weekend as the case may be), the parent with the halo then notices a plethora of bite marks, bruises, fevers, scratches, ravages of vermin, and potential sexual assaults that were inflicted upon their children while those children were not under the watchful eye of the good parent. Emergency documentation of such evidence must be obtained immediately – both to prove that the alleged injuries occurred during the care of the transferring parent and to also prove that the alleged injuries did NOT occur during the care of the receiving parent.

The other problem with these visits is that they induce more visits. If mom is trying to prove that dad is not taking care of the kids, then when dad gets the kids back he sure as shootin’ is going to bring them to the hospital and get pictures to show that mom is really the one who is sexually assaulting the kid AND causing those bruises. As possession of the children changes, so does possession of the halo worn by the parents.

Normal exam. Check.
Alleged hyperdefecation. Check. No I will not say that it is because his mom spanked him. No I don’t want to see pictures of your toilet bowl and I’m not putting pictures of someone’s stool into the chart, either. Not once, not nevah. You can save those mementos and hang them on your fridge next to the calendar.
Normal exam. Check.
Alleged sexual assault. Normal physical exam. Check. No I can’t test for DNA to determine whether anyone’s fingers have been down there besides hers.
Skin rash – resolved. Check. No, there is not a rash there now and it does not matter if we shine a light on it. The rash isn’t there, ma’am.
Insect bite. Check. No it is not a rat bite and no he does not need a rabies shot. If you think her house has rats in it, call the health department. I don’t do house calls.
Bruise to shin from bicycle accident. Check. No I’m not commenting on whether you think his father knew he wasn’t wearing a helmet at the time. You weren’t there. No I’m not writing “severe” bruise. It’s not severe. You have to look at it twice to see it once. My kids have worse bruises than those.

Come to think of it …

Honey … how exactly do you discipline the kids while I’m gone?


  1. I get those a lot. Has one this weekend, in fact. Usually there is also a request to file an “injury to a child” form with the CPS as well (even though there are multiple complaints and several active files already). Though if you truly feel your child is not safe at your home, I can call and get him/her placed in emergency foster care… What? That’s not what you want?

    All I can recommend is DOCUMENT DOCUMENT DOCUMENT!

    The last time I was hauled into court was a custody dispute in which both lawyers tried to get me to say their client was an angel and the other was a neglectful, abusive child molester. All of my responses began, “As you can see in the chart, I saw A, B, and C and that could be from X, Y, or Z.” Repeat as nauseum. No, hearing that dad is unemployed or mom was once a stripper will NOT change my answers.

  2. Hey that sounds like my finance’s ex-wife. The kids are never allowed to get hurt when they are with us, but show up with bruised legs, black eyes (bike accident), rashes, etc.

    The bad part on this post is how accurate it is. Also, how much the kids are still stuck in the middle of their parents fighting.

  3. the more the public expands our role in society, the less we are able to do what we are actually supposed to be doing (take care of sick people)

  4. My first thought was ..The poor kids ..stuck in the middle. A child in the middle of two bickering parents who want the child to choose sides is one of the worst situations for a child to be in. I feel so badly for the children. Also ..your wasted ED time.

    It must be a horrible, horrible feeling to have to give your child to the other spouse if you really don’t trust them though.

    If it were me ..even if I trusted the person they were with ..I would still have concern about people brought into their environment. I watched our boys like a hawk, had to know exactly who they were with, etc., because sometimes ..even people you think you can trust ..will abuse a child.

    But this parental-child ping pong in the ED is just wrong ..unless they have genuine concern.

  5. a generic doc on

    We actually had one parent who came in so much with bogus allegations that the social worker told him if he kept doing it again, they would report him for psychological abuse.

    After years of seeing this kind of parental behavior, I came up with the concept of DUEL custody.
    Colt 45’s at 10 paces – Winner takes all.

  6. “Shared custody” is a misnomer. There are exes who won’t accept the reality of a divorce and who will not quit fighting. They use the kids to manipulate their ex and do not care what effect this has upon the child(ren). No matter how the “good” ex tries, s/he cannot stop the “bad” ex from acting out. The system recognizes that this occurs, but has come up with no solution to the problem.

  7. Most judges in my area won’t do shared custody at all because it’s just such a disaster. I despise those parents who fight through their kids. You have no idea how common it is.

  8. If you think it is bad to deal with them on Sunday nights, try have the child(ren) in your classroom for 180 days or more. You quickly learn to display your degree in education, and point out you are not a marriage counselor.

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