Pediatrician: ‘Asking why is sometimes futile’ about Child Abuse
“Latest cases involve allegations of withholding food, other abuse”
SAN ANTONIO, TX – After a string of high-profile child-abuse cases and deaths, a San Antonio doctor who specialized in child-abuse cases said, at times, it is futile to ask why.
As one of only 200 pediatricians in the nation specializing in child-abuse cases, Dr. Natalie Kissoon said the Center for Miracles at the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio has seen cases of withholding food coupled with other forms of abuse and neglect.
“Asking the question ‘Why?’ is sometimes futile,” Kissoon said. “It’s very hard to understand the motive of someone who has hurt a child.”
The latest high-profile case in Bexar County involves the death of a 7-month-old infant two days before Christmas. The baby weighed only 10 lbs., just three pounds more than when he was born.
His parents, Marquita Johnson and Qwalion Busby, were arrested Wednesday, and remain in the Bexar County Jail under $100,000 bonds, charged with injury to a child – serious bodily injury by omission.
“They knew they were killing that child slowly. They’re guilty. They didn’t do enough to get that baby help,” said Lori Ann Gonzales, a volunteer with the child advocacy group, Eagles Flight Advocacy and Outreach.
Gonzales also is the mother of a special-needs child.
Kissoon said nutrition is vital in the first two years of life when the brain can triple in size.
She said without it, there’s a risk of failure to grow as the child should, developmental delays and cognitive impairment.
But others are able to recover, she said.
Much like last month’s case in which two of eight children were restrained in the backyard of a northeast Bexar County duplex, Kissoon said, “You might have children singled out from the family.”
In court testimony Wednesday, a foster mother testified those two children now constantly want food.
The child advocacy volunteer said she’s even seen children “hoarding food.”
“Anywhere they see food, they’ll grab that food and they will hide it and take it with them,” Gonzales said.