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Doctors Accused in Child Abuse Death

May 16, 2003

DETROIT (AP) _ Two doctors have been charged with failing to report the abuse of a 4-year-old boy later beaten to death while in foster care.

Dr. Vince Truong examined Rufus Young in February and wrote down possible abuse on his chart, which was signed later by Dr. Jayashree Narayan Rao as the attending physician, prosecutor Mike Duggan said.

Neither doctor reported the boy’s bruises to the state as required by law, Duggan said. The boy had been taken to the hospital after he started shaking severely.

Attorneys for both doctors said prosecutors refused to interview their clients and hear their explanation before filing charges.

Gail Benson, Rao’s lawyer, said Rao believed the abuse occurred before the boy was placed in foster care, and that Rufus was no longer in danger.

Assistant prosecutor Patricia Leonard said her office tried to meet with defense lawyers before filing charges, but couldn’t arrange a date.

Rufus died April 6 after he was hit 11 times in the head by Roderick Hall, his foster father, authorities said. Hall has been charged with murder and is set for trial July 15.

``There is no doubt in my mind that Rufus Young would be alive today if the doctors had followed the law and reported the case to child services,″ Duggan said Thursday.

Failure to report child abuse is a misdemeanor punishable by 93 days in jail.

The Michigan Medical Society said it has no record of any doctor in the state being charged with failure to report child abuse. The American Medical Association said it does not track such charges.

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