Innocent Parents may be Convicted of Shaken Baby Syndrome

Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) is a horrible form of child abuse that usually occurs when a parent has lost his patience with a child and begins shaking him out of anger. Other times, it’s done purposely to inflict pain by someone who is abusive. When the child is examined at the hospital, or an autopsy is performed if death occured, there are specific signs of trauma that are sought out to indicate the child suffered from SBS. Sometimes, a child can suffer from other medical conditions that mimic SBS. When this happens, the caretaker of the child  may be wrongly convicted of murder.

Effects of SBS

When a child is shaken, it causes the brain to move back and forth forcefully inside the skull, which results in swelling of the brain, bleeding of the brain and the retinas. If this doesn’t kill the child, it can lead to blindness, hearing loss, brain damage, seizures, possible paralysis due to neck or spinal cord damage or mental retardation.

Any of the above symptoms can result from other types of injuries, not just SBS. When a child is brought to the emergency room with these injuries, they should be closely examined to rule out medical conditions or simple injuries occurring in the home because kids do things all the time that result in injury. Sometimes, the hospital staff isn’t very thorough because they believe it’s child abuse, and don’t do complete examinations, x-rays and blood work to get a clear picture.

Medical conditions that cause similar symptoms as SBS

As unbelievable as it sounds, something as simple as vitamin deficiency can mimic symptoms of SBS. A deficiency in vitamins C, D or K can increase histamine levels in the brain. This can lead to bone lesions, bruising and hemorrhage, similar to SBS. If a vitamin deficiency was present while the baby was forming in the womb, it can affect the formation of connective tissue in the bones, making them extremely brittle and easily broken after birth. These deficiencies may go undiagnosed until a child is rushed to the emergency room, where x-rays will show the fractures, or healed fractures. These are red flags for the medical staff of child abuse.

Vaccine injury

Vaccine injury can also lead to devastating symptoms that can be mistaken for SBS. When a child is suffering from vitamin deficiencies, especially vitamin C, it can cause the body to respond improperly to vaccines. According to VRAN, “One of the primary roles of vitamin C in the body being that of producing and maintaining connective tissue, Dr. Kalokerinos hypothesized that with minor viral infections further depleting an already marginal store of vitamin C, the administration of endotoxin-bearing vaccines would sweep away the residual traces of vitamin C provoking fulminating scurvy with haemorrhagic complications from the of weakening of blood vessels.”

It’s important to remember that children can be allergic to just about anything. Testing is never done on a child to check for allergies before administrating vaccines. One vaccine that may be linked to injuries such as extreme brain swelling and hemorrhages is pertussigen, used in the DTaP/DTP vaccine. Other ingredients in vaccines that may cause allergic reactions serious enough to lead to death include Hib, aluminum, tetanus and mercury. While severe allergic reactions are considered to be rare, they still happen, and need to be taken seriously before deciding someone’s innocence or guilt in the abuse of a child.

Specific conditions

There are numerous medical conditions that can cause hemorrhage of the brain or retinas, swelling of the brain or other signs of bodily trauma that can be misdiagnosed as abuse such as:

   -Metabolic disorders (such as Reye’s syndrome)

   -Dermatologic Disorders

   -Staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome

   -Congenital disorders

   -Rickets

   -Meningitis

   -Hemorhagic Disease of the Newborn

   -Petechia or purpura from systemic bacterial or viral infections

   -Von Willebrand’s disease

   -Vascular malformations

When a child is suspected to have been injured or died due to SBS, it should be taken seriously. Murdering a child is a serious crime that needs to be punished. In many situations, the findings are accurate. However, all possibilities should be ruled out first. It’s damaging enough to lose a child, or have a child permanently injured. To have to endure prosecution and conviction for murdering a child is not what the parents or caretakers who are innocent, deserve. Medical testing to rule out health problems that may have existed without a physician’s knowledge need to be conducted before deciding on an abuse case.