17: Photo-documentation
17.1.1 Photographic imaging of external injuries in suspected child abuse serves several purposes:
17.1.2 Interpretation will depend upon the quality of the images recorded, for example how well patterns of injury are reproduced in the photograph. Factors such as sharpness, exposure, tone, contrast, colour, angular distortion, skin reflection from the flash, lens flare and artifacts can all affect the standard of image quality.
17.1.3 It is good practice to photograph any visible finding in suspected child abuse or neglect. Digital imaging is now the standard technique used and can be undertaken by the:
17.1.4 A medical photographer with specific training in clinical photography is the preferred option, with the exception of CSA examinations. If taken by a medical photographer, the images become part of the medical records which are accessible to the paediatrician for peer review purposes and preparation of reports. Most regional-based hospitals will have an imaging unit that can be contacted to attain the services of a professional photographer. Where this is unavailable, medical examiners, if taking photographs, should receive appropriate training to maintain standards outlined in this chapter as far as possible. All imaging should follow local policy and images are protected in the same way as any other medical record. They are subject to the same statutory and professional rules of confidentiality. For example, photographs should not be taken and stored on mobile telephones or personal photographic or IT equipment.
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