In the evaluation of children and adolescents who have been abused, the laboratory has several functions. Among these are
To evaluate for sexually transmitted diseases
To evaluate for pregnancy
To evaluate for suspected physical injuries
To evaluate for failure to thrive
To test for exposure to illicit drugs or to drugs used for the purpose of incapacitation
Laboratory tests are always done in conjunction with the history and physical and cannot take the place of a well-done history and physical. When using the laboratory, be aware of the limitations of a particular test in order to effectively judge the quality of the information provided by that test.