The morphological characteristics of the physically abused child. Report of a case and literature review

Vol. 61 No. 1, 2020


Monica Adriana Motorca, Camelia Liana Buhas, Simona Gabriela Bungau, Claudia Teodora Judea-Pusta, Cristina Ariadna Nicula, Marius Rus, Ana Maria Alexandra Stanescu, Alina Cristiana Venter, Camelia Cristina Diaconu, Paula Marian

Child abuse remains a current problem, despite progress in the field of prevention and social assistance. The injuries produced by physical abuse have to be evaluated using scientific methods, in order to be considered as evidences later in Court, but also to ensure the physical and social security of the child. Among the morphological characteristics of the child (on which depends how the lesions are formed, differently in children from adults), there is the strong adherence of the dura mater to the skull bones, this fact preventing the formation of extradural hematomas. Another special aspect is the poor development of skeletal muscle before puberty, which confers poor protection of the internal organs against the traumatic physical agents. This paper presents the particular morphological and histological aspects that can be evidenced by forensic autopsy in children. The study was conducted on a female child, physically assaulted, arrived in the emergency department of the hospital. The death occurred shortly after hospitalization. The investigations revealed multiple external (on the whole body) and internal injuries. According to the statements of those who called the ambulance, the injuries occurred because of falling on the stairs and were considered by the family as being superficial, without requiring medical care. The forensic autopsy, through the external, internal and histopathological examination, highlighted the specific injuries that led to the death, thereby contributing to the elucidation of the tanatogenerative mechanism, of the way the lesions were produced and to the applying the law.

Corresponding author: Camelia Liana Buhas, Associate Professor, MD, PhD, Dr. Hab.; e-mail:; Simona Gabriela Bungau, Professor, PhD, Dr. Hab.; e-mail:

DOI: doi: 10.47162/RJME.61.1.31 Download PDF