Can Parents Sue for Mistaken Diagnosis of Child Sexual Abuse ?
In Poulos v. Lane, 276 Ill. App. 3d 524, 659 N.E.2d 34, 213 Ill. Dec. 404 (1995), the defendant physician reported to the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) that a child she examined for possible sexual abuse had tested positive for gonorrhea of the throat. Poulos, 276 Ill. App. 3d at 526, 659 N.E.2d at 35.
The physician testified at a subsequent temporary custody hearing that ended with the court ordering the child removed from his parents' custody. Poulos, 276 Ill. App. 3d at 527, 659 N.E.2d at 35-36.
Several months later, the child was ordered returned to his parents' custody. Poulos, 276 Ill. App. 3d at 527, 659 N.E.2d at 36.
The plaintiff parents sued, apparently because of doubts about the test's accuracy and whether it was appropriate for identifying sexually abused children. Poulos, 276 Ill. App. 3d at 527-28, 530, 659 N.E.2d at 36, 38.
The appellate court affirmed the trial court's granting of summary judgment for the defendants, holding that the presumption the defendant doctor acted in good faith (in reporting to DCFS) was not rebutted and she was thus immune under the Act. Poulos, 276 Ill. App. 3d at 531-32, 659 N.E.2d at 38-39.