Calls for Starship child unit inquiry

Sunday Star Times 28/11/2010
Former Health and Disability Commissioner Robyn Stent is calling for an inquiry into practices at Starship hospital’s child protection unit after it wrongly accused parents of child abuse. Stent, whose stepdaughter was suspected of assault when the haematoma on her baby’s head developed as a result of a difficult birth, said the unit was like a “police station” and was treating parents as guilty until proven innocent. She’s concerned the unit, set up in 2002 to bring a co-ordinated approach to child abuse and involving Child, Youth and Family and police, does not have proper written procedures for abuse cases and is not profiling families to determine the likelihood of abuse. And she says doctors insist on expensive, unnecessary and potentially risky scans to look for further evidence of abuse. “It’s an incredible waste of taxpayers’ money.”
Stent spoke out after the Sunday Star-Times revealed a district court judge had criticised Starship doctors for having closed minds and not considering all the evidence in the case of Auckland father Famaile Lino, who was cleared on charges of causing grievous bodily harm to his baby daughter. Judge David McNaughton, in acquitting Lino, said it was “regrettable” the doctors had not considered all the evidence before reaching the decision to prosecute, which seemed to have been a foregone conclusion. Since then Star-Times has spoken to a number of families who say the unit’s doctors rushed to judgements in their cases, accusing them of abuse and failing to apologise when it was later shown the injuries were accidental. 
Guilty until proven innocent?
Sunday Star Times 28/11/10
You take your sick child to Starship hospital and suddenly you are accused of abuse. Tony Wall investigates claims the hospital’s child protection unit has become a police station treating good parents like criminals, and why there’s concern at some of the expert evidence Starship doctors are giving in court.