Kentucky mothers who have lost children to child abuse are banding together to prevent any more deaths. The campaign, led by Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville, features powerful voices speaking out on what it’s like to lose a child to abuse, including Kara Mellick:
“It kills me every time I think about it,” said Mellick, whose 9-month-old baby, Karlie, was fatally battered while Mellick was at work. “I don’t understand how can you take out that much frustration on a baby that’s totally innocent.”
Her story is just one example that highlights Kentucky’s troubling problem with child abuse. The numbers on child death and near-deaths due to abuse and neglect show something needs to be done, according to the The Courier-Journal:
Roughly 30 Kentucky children die each year of abuse and neglect, ranking the state eighth-highest in the nation in its rate of deaths, according to a 2010 report by the federal government. Another 50 or so Kentucky children are so severely injured each year from abuse that the state classifies the cases as “near fatalities.”
Such cases have one thing in common, according the medical professionals involved in the campaign: most, if not all, could have been prevented–a fact that weighs heavily on the people tasked with treating children who have endured abuse and neglect.
“It is a problem that is so frequent it is shocking to me,” said Dr. Sandra Herr, medical director of emergency services at Kosair hospital. Herr said she is weary of seeing children who are “killed or horribly injured’ from abuse.
“The goal really is to see if we can get rid of this problem,” she said.
The campaign will be joined by more than 200 hospitals, doctors and other professionals from Kentucky and southern Indiana and will launch with a series of advertisements, videos, announcements and tips aimed at educating the public on child abuse and neglect. The campaign’s faces will be Mellick and Ebony Carson, 23, whose two-year-old son survived a beating that left him disabled and with a brain injury and they share the same goal for the project:
According to the article, both mothers said they hope telling their stories will spare others the devastating events they experienced — as well as the grief and guilt that followed.
Mellick, who is single and has no other children, said her sorrow at times is overwhelming.
“You could take everything I own, just let me have her back,” she said. “All I want is her. I miss her.”