boy with fractured wrist

Child Suffers Spontaneous Bone Fractures: Father Wrongfully Investigated for Child Abuse

A father in Mississippi was investigated by Child Protection Services (CPS) because he could not explain the cause of a bone fracture in his ten-year-old son, Robbie. According to the Clarion Ledger, Robbie is a joyful boy with cerebral palsy who uses a feeding tube. Last fall, Robbie’s father, Bill Elam, knew something was not normal when his typically joyful son began crying more than normal and was grabbing his left wrist.

Robbie has spent years in the hospital for his severe medical problems. But last December, doctors discovered Robbie had a fractured wrist. It didn’t take long for CPS to suspect Mr. Elam of abuse. Just a month later, doctors found Robbie’s left femur to be fractured. This only made CPS more suspicious of Mr. Elam. Caseworkers began showing up at Mr. Elam’s house checking conditions including checking to see if there was food in the refrigerator and looking in Robbie’s room.

The caseworkers continued to investigate the alleged abuse into the new year. Then, Mr. Elam’s adult daughter saw a personal injury television ad for Neocate, an amino-based formula that is Robbie’s sole form of nutrition. It was only at that point that Mr. Elam learned of the association between Neocate and hypophosphatemia, a condition in which phosphate levels in the blood are lowered. Hypophosphatemia can lead to spontaneous bone fractures. Once the connection between Robbie’s injuries and Neocate was realized, Robbie spent the next five weeks in the hospital weening off of Neocate. Mr. Elam described this process as equivalent to withdrawing from an illegal drug.

Robbie had his phosphorous levels tested after Mr. Elam learned of the association. His T-score, or a score that reports bone density, was -3.5, indicating very low bone density.

Unfortunately, bone fractures are a common occurrence in child abuse. On the flip side, bone fractures are also the most common type of accidental injury. When determining whether a bone fracture was intentional or accidental, it’s important to also consider the possibility of hypophosphatemia leading to the bone fractures – especially if it is a child who gets nutrition solely from Neocate.

GoldenbergLaw is taking Neocate cases in which an infant or child suffered serious bone disorders, low phosphate levels, spontaneous fractures, and broken bones while taking Neocate. Contact our experienced product liability attorneys for a free consultation.


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