Dermatographism Misdiagnosed as Child Abuse

by Anonymous

I noticed that my foster son's skin seemed to always have red marks and sometimes blisters and I became very concerned about this. A few months later, when I took him to a genetic clinic, I got the diagnosis of Dermatographism. A month ago, I went to court, I thought, to have the parental rights terminated and so that I could proceed with his (and his brother's) adoption. However, his paternal father had taken a picture of his back with some bruises but a lot of red marks two weeks previously and had submitted it to the court. The Judge looked at the picture (which was enhanced in color) and ruled to remove him from me. Before I even got home, the Social Worker was at my house to remove all four of my boys (even my adopted son). At the detention hearing five days later, I had no say and they had already made up their minds to keep the kids removed from me.

The most damaged victim in this whole ordeal is my adopted son that is almost nine years old. He is devastated and is sinking into depression because of the removal from my home. I wanted him to stay with friends but no one is willing or able to take him in for the whole six weeks until the next court date with the possibility of six months after that. No one will listen to me about this skin condition and then I do not get to even have visits with my little boys that I have had all their lives.

Moderator’s Comment.
This is a very unfortunate situation. Over the years, there have been several posts to this website and more specially the Dermatographism Blog where individuals have discussed similar situations. The parents have been accused of child abuse because of the red marks and welts that form on the skin with the application of light pressure. Even putting on a shirt or sweater over the head can result in ugly looking marks on the face. To individuals that do not understand the disease, you can see why they would think it is abuse. It is also unfortunate that even many doctors are still not familiar with this hives skin condition and this often just contributes to the problem. I would suggest the judge, lawyers, and social workers pay a visit to this website and read people’s accounts of their battles with Dermatographism. Maybe a similar demonstration of the how the skin reacts to light pressure would be enough to convince someone that this problem is real and not necessarily a result of abuse.

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