Erlanger Sees Stunning Increase in Child Abuse Cases
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- Erlanger pediatricians last spoke out about an influx of child abuse cases six months ago.
At that time, it was thought the economy and the holidays played a part in the increase.
"We continue to see an uptick and I'm not sure what to blame. It could still be the economy," says Dr. Annamarie Church.
Erlanger has seen a dozen child abuse cases in 6 weeks, 9 of those physical abuse.
"Dakota had told me his heart had stopped, and the baby wasn't breathing, and he seemed completely devastated by it," says Carrie Woodruff.
Woodruff's boyfriend, Dakota Eldridge, is charged with trying to kill their infant son. Police say nurses caught him trying to smother the baby in the hospital.
Doctor Church says a number of cases have also been medical abuse.
Another example includes parents purposely hurting children in hopes of getting pain medications to use for themselves.
Most cases are the result of uncontrolled anger.
Church says anger is part of human nature, but good parents know self-control.
Dr. Church said, "We all do that, the difference is we know how to control our impulses so that we do not lash out at that child."
Dr. Church says many times, it's best for parents to take a deep breath and seek help if it can lead to a violent situation.
"If you feel yourself getting angry, if you feel you want to lash out, these are things you can say to get away from it," Dr. Church said.
For help with child abuse you can call The National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-4-A-CHILD