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A Matter Of Opinion

Fri., Aug. 3, 2007, 10 a.m.

Golden Pen: Blame Isn’t A Solution

re: this letter appeared in today's Op-Ed section

I am one of three pediatricians in Spokane who regularly provide expertise about child abuse. Dave Fregeau was one of the other two. He volunteered his time each week, providing medical consultations for a community review team charged with considering the most high-risk and complex children and families. He served this community for many years. That Tyler DeLeon died, starved and unattended, is a tragedy. That an experienced, thorough physician like Dr Fregeau missed this neglect is another sign of how our safety net has holes and the smallest of our people, our children, are the first to fall through and suffer. It is not a signal for personal and professional attacks. We have the opportunity in our community to stop tearing holes and blaming and to start building a system in which all of the parts interlock, communicate and cooperate to keep our children and our families healthy and whole. We have models here from which we can build in the Circle of Security and Partners with Families and Children, which involve CPS, mental health, law enforcement, schools and neighborhoods. Let's stop pointing fingers and begin taking responsibility to create an accountable, working community.

Deb Harper, M.D.
Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics

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