"It's children that actually motivate me. It's impossible for me to stop because you never forget these children and you know this is preventable," said Dr. Mary Clyde Pierce of Lurie Children’s Hospital.
Dr. Pierce says while working in the Lurie emergency room, she noticed a difference between bruises from normal childhood accidents and those from abuse. Further research revealed children who died from abuse often had those bruises overlooked.
"Often when you look back at their stories, their history, they often had these atypical bruises that were present, and people had seen them and even documented them. They didn't know what to think about them," said Pierce.
So Pierce and colleagues at Lurie developed a screening tool to spot troubling injuries in children under age four, when 80% of child abuse deaths occur. It's called TEN-4FACESp.
"TEN-4-FACESp stands for bruising to torso, ears, neck, frenulum, which is this piece of the lip, angle of the jaw, cheek, eyelid and subconjunctivae, the eye itself. Four represents any infant four months or younger with any bruises anywhere and 'P' stands for the presence of patterned bruising," explained Dr. Matthew David of the Department of Medicine at Lurie Children's Hospital.
This work has now spread from Chicago to caseworkers and health professionals worldwide.
"I've had people call me from like Australia, and people have contacted me from different parts of Europe and said that you know this has made such a difference, I was able to identify a child that was abused, I was able to get some help," said Dr. Pierce.
Governor JB Pritzker proclaimed October 4, "TEN-4 Day" in honor of the acronym giving the youngest victims a voice.