A Tough Decision for the Jury, a Tragedy for the Defendant


– photo by Patrick Yeagle, Illinois Times

After hours of deliberation, an Illinois jury convicted child care provider Cammie Kelly of manslaughter earlier this month but found her innocent of murder, in what reporter Patrick Yeagle of the Illinois Times called “an endorsement of shaken baby syndrome and a blow to the movement set on disproving the theory.”

Although disappointed at another conviction, I was pleased to see news coverage that recognizes a debate over shaken baby theory, and I was intrigued by an interview Yeagle gave last week with Rachel Otwell of NPR Illinois. Yeagle, who also wrote about the 2011 appeal on behalf of Pam Jacobazzi and the 2012 acquittal of Springfield father Richard Britts, summarized his observations for NPR:

“In every case I’ve ever covered, there have been three constants. One is that the child had previous medical issues. Two is that the child developed the triad of symptoms—the brain bleeding, brain swelling and bleeding of the retinas. And then three is that the last person to have been alone with the child is charged.”

Wondering if Yeagle had started questioning shaken baby theory, I contacted him. While not taking a position in the debate, he explained that he sees “no consensus” about shaken baby in the medical community, where most doctors seem to accept the common knowledge but others seem to be raising “some serious, unanswered questions” about the diagnosis. “Unfortunately,” he said, “the debate is being conducted in the courtroom, where people’s liberty and lives are at stake.”

This recent case offers a typical assortment of ambiguous elements that to my mind should have raised some doubt. Kelly, now 68 years old, had been running a licensed day care from her home since the mid-1990s without incident. As Yeagle’s early trial coverage explains, she sought help on a January evening in 2011, when an 11-month-old boy fell unconscious in her care just as she was getting him ready to be picked up. Coverage of the second day describes a video shown to the jury, part of Kelly’s interrogation two days after the incident, after Dr. Channing Petrak had diagnosed Kaiden Gullidge as a victim of abuse. Kelly had no lawyer present and had not been warned of her rights. From Yeagle’s narration of the video:

Before long, the detectives’ questions become confrontational…

The detectives work every angle repeatedly for an hour and 20 minutes, but Kelly continues adamantly denying that she or anyone else harmed the child.

“I didn’t willingly do it, I didn’t intentionally do it, and in my heart, I can’t see doing it,” she says.

One of the detectives tells Kelly, “He’s going to die,” in reference to Kaiden. Kelly lays her head on the table and sobs uncontrollably. Even after the detectives leave the room, she continues crying as she says, “I can’t hurt a child. I can’t do it. I can’t do it. I can’t do it. I’d rather die than hurt a child.”

Sensing that Kelly isn’t going to admit to anything beyond shaking Kaiden to revive him, the officers return and one officer announces that they’re “at an impasse.” As Kelly gets up to leave for a doctor’s appointment, she begins to sob again, and the video ends.

According to the third day’s coverage, the little boy had been born six weeks early, and his head circumference had been increasing for some months before his collapse under Kelly’s care. At birth, his head circumference was below the median, but it was measured at the 80th percentile when he was 9 months old, and the morning before the incident, a nutritionist had measured it at the 98th percentile. Prosecution doctors, however, said his past medical history was unrelated to his collapse, which they attributed to abuse.

On the fourth day of trial, Yeagle’s coverage reports, the jury saw autopsy photos. Although the boy had arrived at the emergency room with no visible bruises or other external signs of assault, he had developed some bruising of unknown origin by the time of his death. From Yeagle’s coverage:

[Prosecutor Jeff] Cox showed the court a series of graphic photos from Kaiden Gullidge’s autopsy, depicting his scalp sliced apart and peeled back to expose interior bruising, his skull cut open to reveal blood pooling around his brain, and his eyes cut in half to show bleeding of the retinas. [Oregon medical examiner Dr. Daniel] Davis explained the significance of each photo to the jury and said they show evidence of blunt force trauma. He said his review of the autopsy photos, Kaiden’s other medical records, the police records and the video of police questioning Cammie Kelly led him to believe Kelly harmed the child by shaking him violently.

Later that same day, the pathologist who performed the autopsy, Dr. Scott Denton, testified that shaking could not have caused the findings, and that the child must have suffered an impact to the head. Again, the jury was subjected to autopsy photos that I think can’t have been as useful as they were inflammatory:

Under questioning by Sangamon County State’s Attorney John Milhiser, Denton walked the jury through his autopsy process and specific aspects of Kaiden’s autopsy. Milhiser showed the jury several graphic photos depicting Kaiden’s body during the autopsy, including more photos of the child’s scalp peeled back, his exposed brain both in and out of his skull, the “dura” layer covering his brain, his dissected eyes, a large clot removed from his brain cavity, and the child’s corpse with sutures from the organ harvesting process. Denton narrated the photos, pointing out evidence that he said pointed to blunt force trauma to the head as the cause of death.

On the fifth day of trial, Yeagle’s coverage reports, a series of defense experts disputed the shaking diagnosis, testifying not only that the child had died from a blood clot, not from abuse, but that his brain showed evidence of previous clots, beginning long before he was in Kelly’s care. They attributed the bruising found at autopsy to medical interventions at the hospital.

After hearing testimony from 23 people over 6 days, including 9 doctors for the prosecution and 3 for the defense, the jury rejected the murder charge but found Kelly guilty of involuntary manslaughter. The jury apparently struggled with their verdict, first sending out a note asking for a definition of “reasonable doubt,” which the judge was prohibited by Illinois law from providing, and a few hours later declaring that they could not reach a verdict. The judge instructed them to continue deliberating.

In his summary article after the verdict, Yeagle described Dr. Petrak as a “polarizing figure”:

Dr. Channing Petrak, medical director of the Pediatric Resource Center in Peoria, examined Kaiden on Jan. 19. She didn’t notice bruises on Kaiden until the autopsy after his death on Jan. 20, but her testimony at Kelly’s trial originally implied that she based her suspicion of abuse on bruises from her Jan. 19 examination. John Rogers, Kelly’s defense attorney, grilled Petrak about the inconsistency, using it to imply that she sees every case as abuse regardless of the evidence.

Petrak is a polarizing figure in the controversy over shaken baby syndrome. Her organization, which is part of the University of Illinois College of Medicine, examines children in cases where abuse is suspected. She’s seen by prosecutors as an impartial evaluator, but defense attorneys see Petrak as part of an industry that profits from indiscriminately labeling cases as abuse.

The article also relates that Kelly retained her composure when the verdict was announced, offering comfort to relatives who began to cry.

The judge revoked Kelly’s bail after the verdict, and so she was led away into custody by sheriff’s deputies. “She was not put in  handcuffs, however,” Yeagle wrote, “likely because she walks hunched over with a cane due to arthritis.”

If you are not familiar with the debate surrounding shaken baby syndrome, please see the home page of this blog.

copyright 2015, Sue Luttner


Filed under abusive head trauma, AHT, SBS, shaken baby syndrome

14 responses to “A Tough Decision for the Jury, a Tragedy for the Defendant

  1. C. W.

    Thank you for your blog. It really sheds some light on a huge problem in an imperfect world.
    Niece of the Defendant

    • A thousand thanks for commenting. Please make sure your aunt knows that there is a large community of people who understand how an innocent person can be in her position. I trust someone is working on an appeal?

  2. Michael D Innis

    Shaken Baby Syndrome Fabricated

    Michael D Innis FRCPA; FRCPath
    Retired Haematologist
    Princess Alexandra Hospital Brisbane Australia
    E-mail micinnis@bigpond.com

    The authenticity of the diagnosis “Shaken Baby Syndrome” is investigated by examining the reports of doctors who failed to appreciate the consequences of severe Liver damage as shown by alteration of the coagulation profile, made a diagnosis of Shaken Baby Syndrome, and caused an innocent man to be charged with murder and sentenced to Life imprisonment (1).

    Key Words

    Shaken Baby Syndrome, Liver Dysfunction, Hyperglycaemia, Fractures

    The term “Shaken Baby Syndrome” is attributed to Neuro-surgeon, Dr Guthkelch, to explain intracranial haemorrhages in children.

    He wrote ”I am disappointed that Helen Carty and Jane Ratcliffe wrongly give priority to the late John Caffey for recognizing the potentially serious effects of shaking babies. Caffey was the first to implicate parental violence in the aetiology of subdural haematoma associated with fractures of the skull and long bones, and for that his fame is secure. But the first mention of shaking of infants as a cause of subdural haematoma appeared in the BMJ as a paper that I wrote almost a year before Caffey’s paper was published.

    Unlike Caffey, I never believed that such shaking was playful; rather, I suggested it was thought of as a socially more acceptable form of correction than a beating, and I referred to a paper by Court in which she told of a mother confessing to shaking her baby “in an insane rage”. I also noted how infants’ big heads and relatively weak neck muscles, to which the editorial refers, made them particularly liable to sustain brain injury under these circumstances. ” (Letters. BMJ Vol 310 17th June 1995).

    Dr Guthkelch’s opinion spread among a population of doctors who ignored the pathophysiology of haemostasis and ontogenesis outlined below.

    The blood coagulation proteins Factors II, VII, IX and X and the bone forming proteins osteocalcin and matrix Gla protein, to be functionally active and prevent spontaneous bleeding and spontaneous fractures, must be carboxylated by the Vitamin K dependent enzyme γ glutamyl carboxylase(2) a process which takes place in the Liver and either Liver dysfunction or Vitamin K deficiency will result in spontaneous bleeding and fractures(3) which Dr Guthkelch and his followers have interpreted as the Shaken Baby Syndrome.

    Main-stream Medical opinion has imbibed this concept whole-heartedly causing considerable distress and anxiety in the general population while the true explanation, antigen induced Autoimmune reaction, is ignored.
    Case Report.
    Mr Darryl Elliot was convicted for the murder of Amelia Bowmar and sentenced to life imprisonment on the evidence of doctors who alleged Amelia was shaken to death. The basis of this allegation was the presence of a subdural haematoma, swelling of the brain with ischaemic changes and haemorrhagic contusions in the cortex of the right and left superior frontal gyri of the brain. The brain and spinal cord showed evidence of old and recent injury which was attributed to “Non-accidental Injury”. (Nottingham Post 22/08/2013. Baby murder trial update: She was thought to have been “vigorously shaken”. Darryl Elliott denies murder. Amelia Bowmar had bleeding on her brain a doctor thought was caused by her being “vigorously shaken”, a murder trial heard. The 14-month-old’s injuries were typical of a child being shaken, explained Patrick Cartlidge, a senior lecturer in Child Health and Consultant paediatrician.
    The condition in which the carers of the child could offer no explanation for fractures, bruises, retinal and cerebral haemorrhages with ischaemic encephalopathy was given the inane diagnosis “Shaken Baby Syndrome” in 1971 by the neurosurgeon Dr Guthkelch who could offer no other explanation for the lesions. .

    Amelia had a disorder of the coagulation system as shown by a raised INR of 1.3,(NR <1.2) an APTT of 39.6.(NR <39.0) which would explain the brain and other haemorrhages but the evidence was ignored by the doctors alleging murder who were obviously ill-informed in relation to the interpretation of these and other Laboratory results.

    Their preoccupation with the Shaken Baby Syndrome hypothesis also ignored the elevation of the level of Glucose in the blood and the presence of Glucose in the urine of Amelia. Both these features are manifestations of an Autoimmune response to antigenic stimulation which destroyed the β cells of the Pancreas resulting in a reduction of Insulin and hence the Hyperglycaemia.[1]. In this case it was most probably the vaccines given to Amelia a few days prior to her falling ill which initiated the process. A simple skin “scratch test” may help to identify individuals sensitive to a particular vaccine and may help to avoid similar disasters.
    Until the Medical Profession realizes that the Shaken Baby Syndrome is a slanderous, ignorant, fabricated diagnosis without a shred of scientific evidence they are going to continue to falsely accuse and destroy the lives of innocent people
    Mr Justice MacDuff sentencing Darryl Elliott for the alleged murder of his partner’s baby Amelia Bowmar said, “You have been convicted, on overwhelming evidence, of the murder of Amelia Bowmar, a little girl of 14 months whose care had been entrusted to you by your partner; her mother. Your job was to look after and protect her but, instead, she died at your hands.
    It is clear to me that because you perceived her to be misbehaving, or perhaps because you had to deal with her when she was sick, or just because you lost your temper at something wholly unconnected with her behaviour, you so violently and deliberately shook her causing the catastrophic injuries from which she died. Only you know exactly what went on inside that house on July 28 last year.
    I accept that this was a spur of the moment loss of temper and also that you did not intend to kill. I also accept that you were immediately full of remorse – although that remorse has to be seen alongside an attempt to distance yourself from what you did and a failure to acknowledge your responsibility. Your failure to tell the truth in those early hours meant that the medical teams spent time investigating other possible causes. I am satisfied that Amelia was so seriously compromised that she would have died anyway. But you were not to know that.” (Nottingham Post 22/08/2013).
    The Judge believed the evidence of the doctors and the “overwhelming evidence” he refers to is analysed and is demonstrably “overwhelmingly incorrect” as demonstrated here.

    Dr P H T Cartlidge, Specialist in Paediatrics said “in my opinion the head injury was not caused by a fall from the seat of the settee and I struggle to conceive how Amelia could have climbed higher”. He goes on to say “the mechanism of non-accidental head injury causing an acute encephalopathic illness, acute subdural bleeding and retinal haemorrhages is thought to be shaking, an impact or a combination of both. In shaking a child is often grasped around the chest and shaken.

    Squeezing the chest impairs the return of blood to the heart and thereby causes an increase in venous blood pressure. This in turn causes engorgement of the veins that traverse the subdural space on the surface of the brain. Shaking the child and/or hitting the child’s head on a firm object leads to marked accellaration-decellaration forces that rupture these engorged veins, resulting in subdural haemorrhage The same shearing forces generated by shaking-impact can damage the parenchyma of the brain and also the spinal cord and cord roots”.

    Dr Cartlidge gives an account of the “mainstream” opinion of the Shaken Baby Syndrome which ignores crucial biochemical evidence such as Increased Glucose in the Blood (Hyperglycaemia), Abnormal Liver Function Test, Abnormal Coagulation Tests and Glycosuria proving an Autoimmune Disease [1,2]. The Shaken Baby Syndrome is unscientific speculation.
    Dr S J Hamilton, Forensic Pathology Unit Leeds who, with his colleague Dr Malcomson, performed the Post mortem examination on Amelia also gave evidence for the prosecution in which he stated “having considered all the findings with respect to the death of Amelia, it is my opinion that she died of a head and spinal injuries. Neuropathology has revealed recent injuries including subdural bleeding, axonal injury in the medulla and spinal nerve roots, and fresh bleeding within older contusions within the brain itself. There is also evidence of older injury including older subdural bleeding and cerebral contusions. These are indicative of at least one, but possibly more than one, episode of significant head trauma. These neuropathological appearances are entirely consistent with non-accidental injury also referred to as paediatric head injury or sometimes “Adult Induced Injury”. Although some authors have proposed theoretical models that would indicate a natural single underlying cause leading to the finding of subdural haematoma brain swelling and retinal haemorrhage to my knowledge these theoretical models have not been accepted by the Courts. The presence of this combination of findings is entirely consistent with a traumatic aetiology. The lack of external injury means that it is not possible to state that there has been an impact to the head, although the possibility of an impact that has not left an external injury must exist”.

    I am one of the authors that “have proposed theoretical models that would indicate a natural single underlying cause leading to the finding of subdural haematoma brain swelling and retinal haemorrhage”. Amelia had an elevated Blood Glucose and Glucose in her Urine features which confirm Insulin deficiency initiated the onset of Tissue Scurvy [2].
    Dr Jayamohan Jayaratnam. Consultant Paediatric Neurosurgeon discussed all the available evidence including the fact that Initial blood clotting tests show some raised clotting times with an INR of 1.3, an APTT of 39.6 and an APTT ratio of 1.3. With support from the evidence of Dr AL SARRAG concluded “in my view this sufficient support for my already formed view that there is likely to have been a traumatic explanation for Amelia’s collapse. In view the globalized findings of ischemia, it was hard to place exactly what may have occurred. However with the focal injuries described by Dr AL SARRAG, in view of the absence of external signs of injury and in view of the bilateral severe ophthalmology findings, I believe it is highly indicative that a non-impact traumatic injury otherwise known as a shaking type injury has occurred to Amelia”.

    Dr Jayamohan clearly identifies an abnormality of the clotting mechanism and then, for no apparent reason, chooses to ignore it as a cause of the bleeding in the skull and elsewhere. His illogical conclusion needs to be further investigated as others may suffer the same fate as Darryl Elliot if he continues to hold this view.

    Dr Neil Gordon Stoodley Consultant Neuroradiologist concluded his assessment of the situation with the remark “I cannot think of a biologically plausible mechanism that would potentially directly link any event occurring toward the end of May 2012 and Amelia’s presentation with a severe (indeed fatal) encephalopathic illness at the end of July.

    The scan abnormalities are all explicable on the basis of being due to an episode of non-accidental head injury. The mechanism of the injury is likely to have involved shaking. Majority medical opinion is of the view that what is likely to be required to produce such injuries is the backwards and forward movement of the unsupported infant head pivoting on the neck. It is believed that this leads to a degree of acceleration/deceleration and rotational forces and that the consequent differential rotation of the brain and skull leads to stretching of the subdural veins which cross the subdural space and it is this which leads to bleeding in the subdural space”.

    Dr Stoodley could not “think of a biologically plausible mechanism that would potentially directly link any event occurring toward the end of May 2012 and Amelia’s presentation with a severe (indeed fatal) encephalopathic illness at the end of July”.

    The biologically plausible mechanism Dr Stoodley has difficulty in thinking that would potentially directly link an event occurring toward the end of May 2012 and Amelia’s presentation with severe (indeed fatal) encephalopathic illness at the end of July is the MMR vaccine administered on 25th May 2012 isTISSUE SCURVY [2] which doctors including Dr Stoodley are obviously unaware. When doctors understand Tissue Scurvy can be induced by vaccines and causes the signs and symptoms found in Amelia they will stop diagnosing Shaken Baby Syndrome.

    Dr AL-SARRAJ provides a detailed account of the findings and concludes “the clinical history indicates presence of extensive bilateral retinal haemorrhages. These injuries, in addition to the presence of subdural haematoma and generalized ischemia (ischaemic encephalopathy) form the triad frequently seen in patients with non-accidental head injury. This is further supported by presence of subdural haematoma in the spinal cord, axonal injury in the pyramids of the medulla and axonal injury in the spinal nerve roots.
    The presence of axonal injury in the pyramids and spinal nerve roots suggest head and spinal cord injury resulting from violent hyper-extension and hyper-flexion of the head and neck similar to those seen in shaking. The presence of extensive retinal haemorrhages supports this suggestion.
    The pathological findings in the brain have to be considered closely with other findings of autopsy examination, radiological examination, eye examination and other investigations, before final conclusion. I will review the pathological findings in the brain and my interpretation if further information becomes available.

    Head and spinal cord injury consistent with non-accidental injury.”

    There is no conflict with Dr AL-SARRAJ’S findings but it is the interpretation of those findings which I dispute. He is evidently prepared to review his interpretation if further information becomes available and I draw his attention to the fact that Amelia had Biochemical as well as Anatomical lesions. The Biochemical lesions of Hyperglycaemia, Glycosuria, Coagulation Abnormality (INR 1,3, APTT 39.6) all suggest an Autoimmune Disorder –TISSUE SCURVY [2] which I am sure Dr AL-SARRAJ is willing to consider.

    Dr Bonshak gives a detailed account of the pathological changes seen in the eye when exposed to infection and injury and concludes “non-traumatic injuries which might possibly cause this form and extent of pathology include severe coagulopathy (bleeding disorder) leukaemia (with coagulopathy) septicaemia(with coagulopathy) meningitis(with coagulopathy)and catastrophic intracranial bleeding. I am not aware that these conditions have been identified”.

    The Hospital Records and Pathology Report of Amelia clearly did show a severe coagulopathy which Dr Bonshak did not recognize:
    1. INR (International Normalized Ratio) 1.3 (Normal Range 2 – 4.5)
    2. APTT (Accelerated Partial Thromboplastin Time) 39.6 sec (Normal 27-35 sec)

    Having been a Haematologist in a Teaching Hospital I HAVE REPORTED ON MANY THOUSANDS OF HAEMATOLOGICAL RESULTS. These results indicate that a Coagulopathy is present due to the reduction in the Clotting factors XII, XI, IX, and VIII and spontaneous bleeding is inevitable. It also indicates that the Liver is damaged because these factors are formed in the Liver.

    Dr Bonshak has the evidence of a coagulopathy he requires to conclude “non-traumatic injuries which might possibly cause this form and extent of pathology ”.

    Darryl Elliot has been found guilty of murder on the evidence of doctors misinterpreting the Haematological evidence which clearly indicated a Coagulopathy caused the death of Amelia Bowmar.

    I wish to thank Mr Darryl Elliot and his mother Ms Liz Peel for providing me with all the details of the prosecution and for permission to publish my findings.

    Prior to migrating to Australia I I was one of the Pathologists working for the Coroner in The West Riding of Yorkshire UK.
    I declare that I have not made any statement that I know to be untrue.

    Michael D Innis MBBS; DTM&H; FRCPA; FRCPath

    1. Nottingham Post 22/08/2013. Baby murder trial update: She was thought to have been "vigorously shaken”
    2. Vermeer C. Knapen MHJ, Schurgers LJ Vitamin K and metabolic bone disease. J Clin Path 1998;51;424-426.
    3. Innis MD. Vitamin K Deficiency Disease. J Ortho Mol Med 2008:23;15-20
    4. Guthkelch N Letters. BMJ Vol 310 17th June 1995
    5. Innis MD Autoimmunity and Non-Accidental Injury in Children, Clinical Medicine Research. Vol. 2, No. 3, 2013, pp. 40-44. doi: 10.11648/j.cmr.20130203.15
    6. Innis M D. Autoimmune Tissue Scurvy Misdiagnosed as Child Abuse, Clinical Medicine Research. Vol. 2, No. 6, 2013, pp. 154-157. doi: 10.11648/j.cmr.20130206.17

  3. Pingback: Appeals Court Recognizes Change in Medical Thinking | On SBS

  4. Jon Yerger

    When will this ”industry” that railroads innocent people into prison and lifelong stigma be recognized for what it is – basically a ”witch hunt”? Thank GOD for those of you/us who are impacted or at least moved enough by such miscarriages of justice to bring it to the court of public scrutiny. And those accused and imprisoned can have hope that someday there will be true justice for them. It’s what I work and pray for.

    • Thank you for writing. I can only hope that all these false convictions will finally leave so many people outraged that we will be a strong enough force to effect change. Best wishes to your family.

  5. How sad this is! The baby was born 6 weeks early. My guess is that he was vaccinated on schedule from the day of his birth, regardless of his actual developmental age, which didn’t do his body any good. I also suspect that the bleeding on his brain may have had a membrane formed around it, which is an indication of slow, gradual bleeding, rather than sudden blunt force trauma. I wonder if this was discovered, investigated or brought out. I know that in our case, when there was a membrane formed on both sides of the hematoma, the prosecution witness completely ignored this fact and did not comment on it, even when the expert witness for the defense DID bring this out. The prosecution said, “hematoma, retinal hemorrhage. Therefore, shaken baby.” Period.

    About brain swelling. I have a problem with this being declared a separate symptom. Being scientifically trained, I know that when a change in one variable automatically causes a reaction in a second variable, those two variables are NOT independent factors. Whenever the body bleeds, there is swelling. Whenever there is brain surgery, there is brain swelling. So the fact that there was brain swelling is NOT an independent happening. It is merely a normal response to bleeding in the first place.

    If this woman has been caring for children without incident for 15 years, why would she all of a sudden shake a baby? Nonsense. And did anyone ask whether or not the baby was a screamer? In our case, the baby was NOT a screamer. Rather, he was a really good baby. Yet the prosecution assumed that “the baby was screaming and the parents could not take it anymore.” That is absolute and complete BS in our case.

    Going back to this woman’s case, the fact that she had been taking care of children for 15 years should weigh in as a factor that perhaps something is not right in her court proceedings.

  6. Jerome Coonen

    Awesome presentation, Sue. I have no doubt all your readers will get to the last, poignant line about this violent, wicked child abuser shuffling off to prison in the clutch of arthritis. Your posts consistently evoke a different syndrome: “Who, me?” The county doctors dutifully recite the litany of “what must have happened” according to the symptoms, while the bulldog investigators extract “confessions” under their many false pretenses, having been handed a perpetrator by a county doctor. Then the prosecutors get their ironclad (um, tax-subsidized) case. You can hear the chorus of, “I didn’t put this aging childcare provider in prison for 20 years…” Aside from the sheer injustice of this mindless cycle, there’s the realization that WE ALL put many accused in prison, financing this weak-science charade with our tax dollars. Thanks for sticking with it, Sue.

    • Thank you for recognizing what’s going on here. One of the things I find so discouraging about these cases is that the full force of the state——police, social services, and the courts——is routinely mobilized to prove one side right in an unresolved medical debate.

  7. Janine Baumgartner

    Wow, Sue, this is a tough one and, in many ways, more heart-breaking than most. After seeing the effect on a younger woman like Cindy, I can’t image how a 68 year old gentle caregiver will survive in prison. It seems that with the baby’s pre-existing medical condition and growing head circumference, she should be able to appeal provided she can afford an appeals lawyer. I agree that the medical directors of agencies like Petrak’s that are set up to find child abuse cases are friends of the prosecution. It’s in best interest to their agencies to find as many child abuse agencies as possible to justify their existence. I’m not saying they don’t serve a purpose if they find real abuse, but SBS with its “triad” is almost a slam dunk for them.

    • Yes, it’s a serious dilemma, finding the path that protects children but also protects innocent families and caretakers. You’re right: We have set up a system of child abuse agencies with financial incentives to identify abuse, and then the police conduct their investigation with the assumption that the doctors are right. It’s exasperating.

  8. Sandra Durazo

    I am full of grief when I hear the tragic situations that mirror so many families torn apart across our Country. When it comes to children we are all in disgust and disbelief that a child could suffer from the hands of a care giver. Because they are the last ones with the child dose not mean they caused the harm. So many children have lucid intervals that occur from blunt force trama . We become blind to the fact that a medical condition may contribute or cause the actual event. State Prosecutors have an agenda and the support of disputing physicians as well as emotional interference from loved ones wanting to serve the defendants for crimes they may not have committed. The medical protocal and literature that mimic child abuse needs the medical community to wake up. Take a stand for truth! Without a doubt the court system rely heavily on the medical professionals that convict our loved ones without a complete medical review. Don’t give up, that faith that the truth be told.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.