Shaken Baby Syndrome Faces Questions
Losing a baby is one of the worst things that can happen to a parent. The nightmare becomes even worse for a parent if he or she is suspected of causing the child’s death from shaken baby syndrome. However, over the past several years, questions have arisen as to the validity of the science that backs up shaken baby syndrome claims against parents and caregivers.
What is Shaken Baby Syndrome?
Shaken baby syndrome is a specific type of traumatic brain injury that happens when a baby is violently shaken. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, since babies have large and heavy heads and weak neck muscles, shaking them can make their brain bounce around in their head. The shaking them causes swelling, bruising, and bleeding which can lead to permanent brain damage or death. While children up to age five have been seen with the condition, it generally occurs in children under age two. Symptoms of shaken baby syndrome include vomiting, convulsions, breathing problems, and lethargy. One of the difficult things in identifying the culprit in a shaken baby syndrome case is that symptoms often come on many hours after a baby is shaken.
New Questions About Old Science
Typically, shaken baby syndrome is diagnosed by the presence of three specific medical findings: brain swelling, bleeding in the brain, and bleeding in the retinas of the eyes, without any other explainable cause, such as a car accident. However, defense attorneys, journalists, and medical professionals have started to question the accuracy of diagnosing shaken baby syndrome when there is no evidence of previous abuse.
Time Magazine reported on this issue and described the problem thusly: “SBS, fortunately, affects only a small number of babies— around 1,200 to 1,400 annually. In at least 30 percent of cases, the diagnosis is relatively clear, because there is prior evidence of abuse. But for the remaining majority of cases, the cause is far more confusing.” For example, there are many genetic disorders that may lead to a mistaken diagnosis of shaken baby syndrome, such as osteogenesis imperfecta. Babies with OI or other rare genetic disorders may experience brain bleeding or other parts of the trifecta of shaken baby syndrome symptoms. Another complication is sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). SIDS is the most common cause of death for babies one month to one year. However, because no one knows what causes SIDS, the diagnosis can be difficult and many medical professionals may mistakenly blame shaken baby syndrome.
Essentially, the science behind shaken baby syndrome is still unclear and in the meantime grieving parents are being blamed for the death of their child based on unclear evidence.
Naperville, Illinois Shaken Baby Syndrome Attorneys
If you have been charged with or are suspected of, shaken baby syndrome you should contact a knowledgeable attorney to defend you in court. Our passionate Naperville criminal defense attorneys at Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC can help use the latest scientific evidence to prove your case.