Didn't receive treatment for allergic reaction: Was I neglected?

by Ronald M.
(Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada)

I am an adult male that was raised in an alcoholic home. When I was 4 or 5, I had an allergic reaction to penicillin. It caused significant swelling in my lower face and neck region. I was under the impression that I was taken to the hospital, but my mother told me I was mistaken. She told me she made several phone calls (one of whom she revealed was to poison control?) trying to figure out what to do. I asked why she or Dad didn't take me to the hospital and her response was when you were small, I had you to the hospital so many times, that if someone told me to, I would have taken you. That's word for word. I was told about a previous trip to the hospital on an unrelated matter a year or 2 before that resulted in a visit by Child Protective Services; the doctor/nurses suspected abuse. What do you think? Does this constitute a form of neglect?

Note from Darlene: Ronald, I owe you an explanation. Yesterday, after answering your previous question Is it sexual abuse when parents have sex in front of a child? and posting it live on my site, I inadvertently hit the wrong button in my submission library with regard to the question in this post. The end result was a built page on a question that I hadn't yet answered. I immediately deleted that newly built page since I was not in a position to provide you with an in-depth answer at that time, but I could not prevent you from being pinged through the automated notification process—I do not have access to this automated system. You could not find the answer because of my error, and I could not get back to you before now due to a sudden medical emergency. I'm very sorry for any inconvenience this caused you.

My answer to this Ask Darlene question "Didn't receive treatment for allergic reaction: Was I neglected?" can be found at Comments below this submission. Depending on system activity, there are sometimes delays in comments going live on my site; but rest assured, they do eventually appear. So if you don't yet see them, I hope you will return later to read what I, and possibly others, have written. I thank you for your patience and understanding.

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Comments for Didn't receive treatment for allergic reaction: Was I neglected?

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Jul 04, 2008
Seeking answers...
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

Ronald, when referring to child abuse, child neglect is defined as failure to provide the basic needs that are necessary for a child to grow into a healthy adult. When a parent chooses to NOT seek medical attention for their child who clearly needs that medical attention, it is a neglectful act. However, one act of neglect does not constitute child abuse, unless that act results in serious harm or injury to the child. One-time neglectful acts are handled on a case by case basis, depending on the end result to the child. When we talk about neglected children, we are generally talking about the chronically neglected: children dealing with various forms of and ongoing neglect. Check out the two URLs I provided above for more information about neglect and its various forms. Perhaps you can identify with much of what is among those pages.

Based on the details you provided, your mother's explanation for why she didn't take you to the hospital doesn't pass the smell test, as I'm sure you've already determined for yourself. On the surface, it appears she was trying to avoid another investigation with CPS; but I doubt anyone will ever know for sure.

Ronald, given this and your previous question, I gather you are trying to make sense of what happened to you as a boy growing up in an alcoholic home, a home that sounds as though it was anything but a home. I see you're from Canada; perhaps you are trying to gather evidence to have your parents charged with historical child abuse...regardless of your reasons, I suggest you read through the various information pages on this site in order to determine what types of abuse you endured. You'll find links to those pages on the navigation bar on the left margin.

There are two other ways to find information on this site: through my Sitemap page; by utilizing the search feature on my Site Search page.

Whatever your quest, I sincerely hope you find the answers you are seeking. And I hope you are in some form of counselling in order to help you make sense of the nonsense of your childhood. You're worth that kind of help, Ronald.

Darlene Barriere
Violence & Abuse Prevention Educator
Author: On My Own Terms, A Memoir

Feb 19, 2010
thank you
by: Eileen

I have just found the site and it was at a crutial time, to feel less alone. I wrote already about my canadian military father, who died, Feb 22, 1987. I have horrible memories of what he did to me, but my memories of his description of murdering young asian girls in the Korean war, whenever he would go into these strange manic episodes is much much worse. I did something I wish I could take back, I requested his military file, in Dec 09, as when a soldier is dead 20 years you can obtain the files, I asked for everything they had. The file shows the military is partially to blame for what happened to my family, and to the poor young girls in Souel. I was so hoping his file would convince me I am wrong, but it just confirmed it all the more. Of course, I was hoping it was a fear tactic he had used, to keep us from telling of his abuse with my sister and I. The other stupid thing I have done, is give my DNA to the London Ontario police in reference to crimes committed in the areas we were living, I was reading a site one day, and the dates of young girls murdered in SW Ontario, were all consecutively listed, it just about grabbed me by the throat, and shook my head back and forth. Every date coincided with one of his really manic violent times in our home, when he suspected my mother in 1955 of having an affair, and accussing her of having a baby that was not his, Susan Cadieux is murdered, left to freeze to death, 1956, two month later he is posted out of the city, to Central Europe, he had made references in his crazy rages, about Lynne Harper, and Jacqueline,English and Dunleavy, but you just assumed as a child he was just ranting and fantasizing or something. I new the names they were searching and begging anyone to come forward on the news. I started to really try to concentrate on my memories, but I have to be very careful as for many years I had my real life in hell and then the one I told people I had, where I left the bad things out. His file came and I gave my DNA, hoping to prove myself wrong, the file just makes it look all the worse and I had myself convinced that if I did the right thing, by coming forward, I would ease my own gilt, selfish I know, but at this point I would try anything to calm down about my past. It seemed to have almost faded away, after my mother died, I thought I had grown so much, she and I had had it out, about the why why why did you stay, she swore she never dreamt he would hurt his own children that way. I knew she was saying she knew about the other children, but he wouldn't molest his own, we fought out the reason she murdered my dog, she had to as my father had beaten it so badly she had to put it to sleep, and she couldn't tell us why, so she just told us basically to get the heck over it,I never did, and knowing she had to kill the dog out of kindness, in her mind AT LEAST, didn't help a whole lot either, when he almost killed the dog it was 68.

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