Shaken Baby Syndrome

Shaken baby syndrome (also known as abusive head trauma or AHT) is a traumatic brain injury that results from severely jostling a baby. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, as many as 20-25% of AHT incidents end in a fatality and lead to parents grieving a child while in court.  In an effort to protect children, doctors have become hypervigilant when spotting signs of AHT because of abuse by family or caregivers, which many people insist has led to false criminal allegations and a rush to judgment. Many in legal circles maintain that the science that shaken baby syndrome is based on is shaky at best, and question its broad diagnosis and validity.

To use the diagnosis of shaken baby syndrome, pediatricians and doctors need to see evidence of retinal hemorrhage and brain swelling that is consistent with shaking a baby. However, due to the vulnerable nature of a baby, there are many other accidents that can result in the same symptoms caused when someone shakes a child.  Many argue that to protect infants who are fragile, many practitioners jump to the conclusion that a baby has been shaken when there are other explanations for the illness or injury, which can help in a defense of an AHT case.  If you are accused of shaking your baby, it is possible to present your case in court and to be found not guilty. There are many other causes for the symptoms of shaken baby syndrome. Hiring a lawyer who understands that SBS can be a result of a multitude of different situations will be an asset in organizing a solid defense.

Misunderstood situations and symptoms

Although shaken baby syndrome victims typically have similar symptoms, there are other reasons that a baby may require medical treatment that does not involve abuse. It is possible that there are other similar symptoms that can result from accidental falls that are misconstrued as shaken baby syndrome.  Additionally, shaken baby symptoms might take a while to surface. Although many experts believe that the symptoms of shaken baby syndrome appear immediately, it is possible for an injury that happened at birth to stay hidden for weeks or a couple of months before coming the surface. There are cases of false accusations of AHT that can be traced back to earlier trauma that wasn’t the fault of a caregiver. There are also times when another illness or genetic condition can be the cause of the symptoms that appear to be the same as shaken baby syndrome

If you have been accused of shaking your baby, there might be some other condition or circumstance to blame. To build the best defense, you need a lawyer who will investigate the complexity of shaken baby symptoms and sort through the details. They will be able to find out if there is an underlying cause of the injury other than abuse and help you battle this emotionally devastating experience.

Please contact us for more information.