My Patient of the Week was really a Mother of the Week. On Wednesday night, I cared for a fourteen-year-old girl who came in with a report of having been found unconscious with her pants down. My evaluations allowed me to feel comfortable she was very drunk and not ill in any other way. In doing so, it was hard to not notice this drunk-as-a-skunk pubescent teen had neck tattoos. I couldn’t help but ask myself, “What the heck kind of a parent would let his fourteen-year-old daughter get neck tattoos?
My plan was to watch her closely until she woke up and then call in the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) to do an exam on her. Soon thereafter, I was told her mother had arrived. The nurse came up to me and told me the patient was awake and pulling out her IV and the mother wanted to know when she could take her daughter home.
When I went into the room, I found a woman about thirty-five years old with an infant girl on her lap. Other than the sparkles in her eye shadow, there was nothing particularly unusual about her appearance.
I reviewed the known facts with the mother. Her daughter had been found abandoned by her “friends,” unconscious because of drinking too much alcohol. Her pants had been pulled down and there was no way for me to determine if she had been molested or not. I recommended a SART exam be done to make sure her daughter had not been sexually assaulted.
First, the mother turned to the girl and asked her if anything happened to her. When the girl said, “No,” the mother passed that answer to me. I pressed the mother, pointing out there was no way her daughter could know what happened as she was unconscious. The mother then asked the girl how she could know nothing happened and the girl just repeated that nothing happened.
Since the mother was unable to convince the child she needed a rape exam, the mother then turned to rationalization. The first thought Mom used to minimize the significance of all of this was to say that nothing could have happened because the girl’s pants were so tight there was no way anyone could have gotten them down.
The whole conversation was too convoluted for me to be able to reproduce it all but it was amazing to see how little concern the mother showed, how she tried to present everything in the most positive light and how she let the girl decide everything even though the girl was clearly impaired and irrational. After I pointed this out to them and made clear the implications of their decision to leave, off they went, apparently undisturbed by anything that had happened or been said.