Is ‘Shaken Baby Syndrome’ a Medical Diagnosis? Or a False Accusation? (Pt. 1)

November 3, 2017 Abuse and Neglect Attorney
Baby in hospital bed
Babys present with SBS symptoms for a wide range of reasons, only one of which is shaken baby syndrome.

A frantic 911 call. A baby unresponsive… not breathing. A parent’s worst nightmare taking shape right before their eyes! And just when they thought it couldn’t get any worse, a doctor notes that critical triad of symptoms on the baby’s MRI. Bleeding on the brain, bleeding behind the eyes, and brain swelling. Shaken Baby Syndrome.

Just like that, they’re not just a heartbroken parent fighting for their child’s life. Instead they’re labeled a child abuser, and they’re fighting for their freedom and for their family.

Four almost four decades, thousands of caregivers all over the world have been accused, convicted and imprisoned for violently shaking infants, many of whom died as a result. But many of the doctors who fought so hard to have those same parents convicted, are now stepping back, and reconsidering what they were once so certain of.

Instead, they’re now asking that critical question which defense teams have been posing to juries for countless years – is this an accurate medical diagnosis, a false accusation, or a hasty and inaccurate diagnosis? The answer may surprise you!

For many years, whenever a doctor encountered the “triad” – those three specific symptoms all present at the same time in an unresponsive baby, the answer was swift and unequivocal. Without a doubt, it was shaken baby syndrome. Every time. No questions asked…. Or was it?

Many professionals are now questioning the “facts”…

Dr. Patrick Barnes, a neuroradiologist then at Children’s Hospital in Boston, now at Stanford University, was a dedicated believer. He was part of the team that put 18-year-old British Nanny, Louise Woodward, behind bars for murder. And she certainly wasn’t the only one. It was the Woodward trial, however, that changed things for Dr. Barnes. And he wasn’t alone.

Scores of doctors are beginning to realize that there is far more to this than they formerly suspected. For Dr. Barnes, it was a specific phrase that one of Woodward’s defense attorneys asked him during the trial that caused him to wonder. Three little words: Were you there? And according to Barnes, the answer was obviously “no”. He hadn’t been there. So how could he be so sure?

The truth is, he couldn’t. And neither could the judge who presided over the trial. Three days after conviction the judge made an unprecedented move. He overruled the jury, knocked the charge down from second degree murder to involuntary manslaughter, and sentenced Woodward to time served. She was free.

But how many others languish in prison? Their lives destroyed because of a faulty medical diagnosis that led prosecutors to believe that they were child abusers? Since 2001, 16 shaken baby syndrome convictions have been overturned. But in reality, that’s likely only a tiny fraction of the number of people who were wrongly convicted of child abuse or more specifically, of shaken baby syndrome. Labeled abusers, or worse, baby killers. When in truth, they’re guilty of nothing more than caring for a child.

Join us next time, when we look at some of the case history of this tragic medical misdiagnosis, and discuss doctors, judges and expert witnesses for the prosecution who’ve all begun to realize the truth. Until then, if you or a loved one have been accused of harming a child, or shaking an infant, call The Kronzek Firm immediately at 866 766 5245. We need a highly skilled child abuse defense attorney right now, and we are here to help!