Friday, 22 April 2011

SIDS: Swaddling bibliography

Selected Bibliography for
Swaddling of Infants: Uses, Misuses, and Myths
January 2011
Linda J. Smith
<http://www.bflrc.com/ljs/documents/SwaddlingBibliographyJan2011.pdf>

SIDS: Minnesota: Baby's own bed is best

 KEVIN DUCHSCHERE April 17, 2011
Hennepin County campaign seeks to prevent the preventable: accidental deaths caused by well-intentioned moms and dads.
Hennepin County has a message for new parents: No sleeping with the baby.
The county this month launched an information campaign aimed at reducing the number of infants who inadvertently suffocate in their sleep, smothered either by another person or by loose bedding.
Such deaths "are so preventable," said Deborah Huskins, an area director in the county's Human Services and Public Health Department. "It's just a matter of making sure the child's sleeping conditions are safe."
The county medical examiner's office found that three-fourths of 131 infant deaths in the county from 2005 to 2009 occurred when the child had been sleeping or put down to sleep.
At least half of those were accidental deaths, said Dr. Andrew Baker, the county's chief medical examiner.
In the past, many mysterious deaths labeled as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) probably were suffocations caused in part by the sleep environment, Baker said.
"In my office, there's been a movement away from using SIDS because it implies the death was natural and there was no known preventative aspect to it," he said. "But many of them are preventable and there are things that could be changed."
That's at the heart of the Hennepin campaign, which began with information tables and brochures at the county's Government Center and Century Plaza buildings in downtown Minneapolis. Public health nurses are explaining the importance of "safe sleep" to parents and in some cases providing portable cribs to families who need them.
The issue has been drawing attention elsewhere. Last year, the Milwaukee Health Department held a "Safe Sleep Summit," attended by more than 200 people, which sought to develop an effective message to deliver to the community. The Health Department produced an ad showing an adult-sized bed with a tombstone for its headboard. The inscription: "For too many babies last year, this was their final resting place."
Hennepin County's safe sleep campaign sprang from a volunteer committee that Huskins organized a couple years ago. It asked Baker's office to compile infant death numbers. The medical examiner found that the average age of babies who die accidentally is 3 to 4 months.
Autopsies alone don't tell how an infant died, Baker said, so investigators visit the scene of the death and talk to parents about how the child was positioned to determine what happened.
To protect babies, the main objective is ensuring that their airway remains open while they sleep. Huskins said the first rule is that a baby should always sleep alone.
Parents may want to snuggle with their infant in their bed, and mothers sometimes take a baby to bed for breast-feeding. That's OK as long as the baby is returned to the crib before anyone falls asleep, she said.
A baby sleeping in an adult bed could be smothered either by another person or by bedding. Blankets and a soft mattress also can be a problem in a crib, where the child should be clothed in a sleep sack or suit rather than tucked into bedding.
Sofas and couches also can be dangerous, Huskins said. An infant can easily roll to the low area between a seat and sofa back, wind up face down and suffocate.
The issue knows no socioeconomic divides and concerns all parents, Huskins said. "We're just trying to get the word out," she said.
Kevin Duchschere • 612-673-4455
 http://www.startribune.com/bios/10644786.html

SIDS: Spokane County Washington State

From 2005 to 2009, 166 infants died in Spokane County. Thirtyfour of those deaths remain unexplained, according to the Spokane Regional Health District. SIDS is a rare diagnosis— only about one out every 1,000 infant deaths is attributed to SIDS.
An explanation for SIDS remains elusive. It’s only diagnosed when an autopsy cannot account for the cause of death. But risk factors have been identified. They include babies sleeping on their stomachs or with their parents, babies born to women who smoked throughout the pregnancy and babies born into poverty.
Still, as rare as it is, Spokane County has close to double the rate of SIDS deaths as the state average. While local health officials can only speculate about the reason for the higher rate, they’re beginning to understand how to combat it.
When an infant dies in Spokane County, Medical Examiner John Howard tries to explain why.
The medical examiner’s office investigates unexplained or unlawful infant deaths. For as long as two months, Howard sifts through medical histories, police reports and scene-of-death details. He examines the outside of the body, and the organs inside, scrutinizing photographs, organs and tissues. Radiographs and DNA samples are taken, and samples are sent to laboratories to retrieve metabolic data and test for toxins.
Sometimes the answer is clear. In Washington, about 22 percent of infant deaths are from birth defects. Labor complications account for 13 percent.
But in Spokane, one out of five infant deaths in the last five years has been attributed to SIDS.
SIDS isn’t an answer, really. It’s the lack of one — a diagnosis of exclusion.
“There clearly is a frustration among all people, including forensic pathologists, in not having an explanation,” Howard says. It used to be called crib death or cot death. But in 1969, he says, a workshop coined the phrase SIDS.
In the 1970s, SIDS became a massive public health issue, with dozens of national programs researching causes and providing support for those who lost a child. As a result, ways to reduce the risks have been discovered.
Caroline Law, a 61-year-old woman with short auburn hair, is the only one in the conference room on the third floor of the Spokane Regional Health building. The door is closed. She picks up phone and dials.
“I’m Caroline Law,” she tells the person on the other end. “I’m from the Spokane Regional Health District.”
For the people on both ends, it’s emotional. She’s calling to talk to a parent who’s found her infant dead just a few months before.
She calls to help them through the grieving process. And she can educate them on how, in the future, to decrease the risk of SIDS. Back in the days of Dr. Spock, conventional wisdom suggested infants should sleep facing down, to prevent them from choking on spit-up. But research now shows the exact opposite is true.
“It’s unequivocally true that prone sleeping increases Sudden Infant Death Syndrome by two to five times,” says Henry Krous, a nationally known SIDS researcher.
In 1994, the “Back to Sleep” campaign drilled this information nationwide. In seven years, the SIDS rate dropped 50 percent.
Law has visited homes of grieving parents where the cigarette smoke was so thick she could be barely see people across the room. It’s likely no coincidence that Spokane has nearly double the rate of SIDS as the state average and nearly double the rate of pregnant smokers as the state average, experts say.
Smoke while you’re pregnant, the Spokane Regional Health Department says, and the child is more likely to be born prematurely, drop out of school, become a criminal, and, yes, die from SIDS.
Expose your baby to secondhand smoke, and their SIDS chances double, research shows. Smoke while you’re still pregnant and they triple. Of those infants who died in that four-year period in Spokane, 63 percent of their mothers smoked while pregnant.
“Think about the fact that nicotine is a stimulant,” says Christopher Zilar, the tobacco program manager with the Spokane Health Regional District. “We’re talking about infant brain development with a chemical that impacts brain chemistry.”
At the health district, Zilar and others don’t know why Spokane is so much worse for pregnant smoking, but they are seeking ways to fix it.
In Spokane, health specialist Julie Scholer says, 30 percent of pregnant women on Medicaid continue to smoke. Last fall, the health district created a tobacco task force targeting low-income women, encouraging them to call smoking help lines.
So far it’s been rough. Forty women signed up for smoking cessation classes, but only three showed up. Most already know that smoking can damage their baby.
“I see a lot of guilt,” Law says. “‘Oh god, I quit smoking with my first child. With this one, I could not.’”
The death of a child can create of storm of guilt, depression and anger that can tear through a family and a marriage. It didn’t cause Montgomery’s divorce, she says, but it certainly contributed.
“You have to have a pretty strong marriage to get through the death of a child,” Montgomery says.
That first year was brutal. But there are ways to survive. Getting therapy. Talking with friends. Meeting other moms who’d suffered through the same tragedy. And, finally, spreading the message about smoking and safe-sleep techniques.
Montgomery also volunteered with the Northwest Infant Survival and SIDS alliance, to go to high schools, colleges and parents groups to tell her story.
“You can’t prevent SIDS from happening. If it happens, it happens,” Montgomery says. “What I tell them is, if you follow all the rules, and your baby still dies, at least you did everything you could.”
http://www.inlander.com/spokane/article-16436-sudden-unexplained-dead.html

SIDS: Idaho


April 20 2011
Moscow Police Chief David Duke confirmed today that a 3-month-old boy died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Tuesday, according to the county coroner's report.
The boy's death was under investigation by MPD. Police received a call around 5 p.m. Tuesday, Duke said, that an infant boy was having breathing problems. An officer was dispatched and, upon arrival at a trailer park on West Palouse River Drive, determined that the child had died.
http://www.dnews.com/breaking-news/1680/

SIDS: Pennsylvania: Coroner: No Sign Of Trauma In 6-Month-Old Girl's Death

April 20 2011
The death of a 6-month-old girl in Masontown has been ruled the result of sudden infant death syndrome, but more tests will be conducted, according to the Fayette County coroner.
The coroner told WTAE Channel 4 Action News Wednesday night that an autopsy performed by Dr. Cyril Wecht in Pittsburgh showed no evidence of trauma or foul play.
The girl's mother woke up Wednesday morning and began CPR when she found the child unresponsive in their two-bedroom apartment on Court Avenue, according to a press release from Fayette County District Attorney Jack Heneks Jr.
The mother also woke up her sister, who called 911 at 6:32 a.m., Heneks said.
The child was taken to Uniontown Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 7:15 a.m., Heneks said.
The child had been sleeping on a mattress with three other children -- all under the age of 4 -- and her aunt, Heneks said.
Her mother had been sleeping on the floor next to the mattress, Heneks said.
http://www.wtae.com/news/27615514/detail.html

Thursday, 21 April 2011

SBS: Nebraska: Day care provider Kendra Fritsche charged with child abuse

April 14, 2011  BETSY FRIEDRICH
HOLDREGE — A Holdrege day-care provider has been charged with child abuse of an infant girl.
Kendra Fritsche, 38, was arraigned Tuesday on a Class II felony in Phelps County Court.
 Judge Robert Ide issued a warrant for Fritsche’s arrest Feb. 17 and set her bond at 10 percent of $50,000, or $5,000. The bond ordered that Fritsche have no contact with children other than her own, and she can have no children in her care.
Fritsche was arrested Feb. 18 and now is free on bond.
Court records outline the case against Fritsche:
On Oct. 16, the Nebraska State Patrol was asked by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services to investigate a possible child abuse case involving a 3-month-old girl who had been in her care from Sept. 7 to Oct. 15.
On Oct. 15, Fritsche contacted the girl’s mother saying she was “not acting right and need to go to the Phelps Memorial Health Center Emergency Room.”
The mother then took the girl to her doctor in Kearney, then to Good Samaritan Hospital, where the girl underwent additional tests and a CAT scan the following morning.
The CAT scan revealed the girl had suffered a skull fracture, which medical staff said was most likely not the result of a short fall but probably occurred from a significant blow to the head. A GSH ophthalmologist also examined the girl and said she had multiple retinal hemorrhaging in both eyes, which he concluded was consistent with shaken baby syndrome.
On Oct. 18, the girl was transported via medical helicopter to Omaha Children’s Hospital. That same day, a State Patrol investigator interviewed Fritsche, who said the girl’s injuries may have been caused when she put the girl down into a car seat too hard, and she may have knocked the wind out of the girl.
On Oct. 20, a Children’s Hospital doctor said the girl had suffered two separate trauma events, as determined by an MRI scan. One indicated a three-week-old bleed in the girl’s brain, and the other more current and acute bleed dated to the previous weekend when the girl suffered a left parietal skull fracture.
The doctor told police it was possible to cause the injuries by forcefully putting the child into a car seat. The doctor also said the girl’s injuries could result in learning difficulties later in life as well as temperamental mood changes over her lifetime.
Fritsche’s preliminary hearing was scheduled for 1 p.m. May 23. A Class II felony is punishable by one to 50 years in prison.
http://www.kearneyhub.com/news/local/article_539e79c8-66bf-11e0-a0ee-001cc4c03286.html

SBS: Stress could be reason for hike in child injuries

by Bob McClay/KTAR (April 20th, 2011 @ 10:17am)

 
 
PHOENIX -- Phoenix Children's Hospital, like some hospitals elsewhere, has seen a rise in children's head injuries, possibly because of parental stress caused by the struggling economy, according to a trauma doctor.
Dr. David Adelson, who works at PCH, said the high numbers of foreclosures may be playing a role.
"Parents and children, if they are displaced from their home, or if they're under economic stress, or about to lose the home, things like that, then that obviously is going to create stress within the family. Sometimes, the children are the people who get lashed out at."
He added, "It's not an unusual situation that we see this. It's just now coming to light because of the protracted recession that we're seeing."
People with high levels of stress in their lives need to seek help and resolve their problems before someone gets hurt, Adelson said.
"Be aware that this can happen. It can happen to you, it can happen to one of your family. It's important to really keep an open mind and an open view that you don't let things get out of hand."
A study by researchers at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio found that the number of babies hospitalized for non-accidental head trauma -- previously known as shaken baby syndrome -- doubled during the recent ression. Mary I. Huang -- who was to present the study Wednesday at the American Association of Neurological Surgeons' meeting in Denver -- said the reason for the increase was beyond the scope of the study, although she believes stress from economic problems is a possibility
http://ktar.com/category/local-news-articles/20110420/Stress-could-be-reason-for-increase-in-child-head-trauma/

SBS: OHIO: Tiffani Calise trial experts' evidence

Ed Meyer 
An expert in brain injuries has testified that the forces created by a slip and fall in a bathtub were strong enough to cause the injuries that took the life of toddler Aaliyah Ali.
A Summit County judge now will decide whether to admit that testimony in the murder trial of Aaliyah's 20-year-old baby sitter, Tiffani D. Calise.
The defense expert, John D. Lloyd, a senior researcher in traumatic brain injuries at James A. Haley Veterans Administration Hospital in Tampa, Fla., testified for more than two hours Monday morning before Common Pleas Judge Alison McCarty.
Citing findings from a laboratory experiment repeated 30 times, using a mannequin similar in size and weight to the 33-inch-tall toddler, Lloyd told the court that Calise's claims of how the head injuries occurred were scientifically plausible.
Lloyd, 41, has a doctorate from Loughborough University in central England. He testified that his specialty is in biomechanics — the science that determines whether certain mechanical forces are sufficient to cause injury. Lloyd told the judge his experiments involved three scenarios of the mannequin falling in a real bathtub — from a standing position, from a position of crawling out of the tub and from the top edge of the tub.
He said he even put a pair of toy roller skates on the mannequin ''to simulate the feet slipping out from under the body.''
McCarty's decision is expected in about two weeks.
The judge gave prosecutors one week to submit a written response to Lloyd's testimony, and five additional days for Calise's lawyers, William T.Whitaker and Donald R. Hicks, to respond.
Calise is to go to trial June 6. She is charged with murder, involuntary manslaughter and two counts of felony child endangering.
She told sheriff's deputies and family members, that she was caring for her own daughter and Aaliyah on the night of Aug. 9 at her Mayfair Road apartment in Green. After giving Aaliyah a bath, Calise said, she momentarily left the child alone in a nearly empty tub to retrieve a towel. Calise said she heard a thud and returned to find Aaliyah unconscious. The child was taken to Akron Children's Hospital and died two days later.
According to an autopsy by the Summit County Medical Examiner's Office, Aaliyah's death was ruled a homicide from ''complications of blunt impact(s) to the head.''
Deputy Medical Examiner Dorothy E. Dean wrote in her report that Aaliyah was ''assaulted by another person(s),'' and that she had ''severe injuries to her brain that she sustained during the assault.''
Dean's testimony is expected to form part of the foundation of the state's case.
Another important prosecution witness, Dr. R. Daryl Steiner, director of the child abuse center at Children's Hospital, is expected to testify that Aaliyah was a victim of shaken baby syndrome.
Calise's lawyers hope Lloyd will be able to rebut those findings to create reasonable doubt in the state's theory.
Assistant Prosecutor Gregory Peacock spent much of Monday morning trying to cast suspicion on Lloyd as an expert witness.
Lloyd said he has testified as a court-certified expert witness in only one other case, in Georgia, and that he conducted his experiments with a childlike mannequin used by state agencies in the testing of injuries from auto crashes.
''The principles [of biomechanics] are the same,'' Lloyd said, regardless of whether the head injuries were caused by auto crashes or football injuries, or whether the victim was an adult or child.
Lloyd also said his tests were conducted in a 400-square-foot laboratory in his home near Tampa.
''It's a fairly extensive testing facility,'' Lloyd told the court.
After the proceedings, Whitaker said Lloyd could not answer specific questions about the case because of the pending trial.
Calise has been held at the county jail in lieu of a $500,000 10 percent cash bond since her Aug. 11 arrest.


Ed Meyer can be reached at 330-996-3784 or emeyer@thebeaconjournal.com.
http://www.ohio.com/news/120186204.html

SBS: Ohio: Court rejects Ricky Edwards' appeal

State of Ohio, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Ricky Edwards, Defendant-Appellant.
Date of Judgment Entry on Appeal: April 13, 2011.
{¶1} Defendant-appellant Ricky Edwards appeals the judgment of the trial court convicting him of one count of child endangering. Because we determine that Edwards's arguments on appeal are without merit, we overrule Edwards's five assignments of error, and we affirm the judgment of the trial court.
{¶2} On February 11, 2009, Edwards was indicted for child endangering and felonious assault after Edwards's three-month-old son, S.E., sustained injuries consistent with shaken-baby syndrome while in Edwards's care, including severe retinal hemorrhaging, subdural hematomas, and brain swelling. As a result of S.E.'s injuries, at the time of trial, S.E. was permanently blind, required the use of a breathing tube, and was generally unresponsive to his environment. After a jury trial, Edwards was convicted of child endangering, but was acquitted of felonious assault. The trial court sentenced Edwards to eight years in prison. This appeal followed.
Motion to Suppress Edwards's Statements to Police
{¶3} Edwards contends that the trial court should have suppressed his statements to police detectives pursuant to Miranda v. Arizona1 because the detectives allegedly continued to question Edwards after he had invoked his rights to counsel and to remain silent.
{¶8} Finally, with respect to the February 11, 2009, interview, the trial court found that Edwards had been indicted at this point and was under arrest. The interview occurred at the police station, and Edwards was read his Miranda rights. But the trial court determined that Edwards did not invoke his right to remain silent until page 149, line 3, of the interview transcript, when Edwards said, "That's all I got to say, man." Thus, the trial court suppressed all statements thereafter. Based upon our review of the record, we agree with the trial court's determination. Thus, we overrule Edwards's first assignment of error.
Daubert Hearing
{¶9}  Edwards contends that the trial court erred in allowing Dr. Kathi Makoroff to testify as an expert without conducting a Daubert8 hearing and without giving Edwards's trial attorney an opportunity to voir dire Dr. Makoroff. With respect to Edwards's voir dire argument, before trial, the trial court offered to let Edwards's attorney voir dire any of the state's expert witnesses. The trial court renewed that offer during trial, but Edwards's attorney declined. Thus, Edwards's argument is contradicted by the record.
{¶10} With respect to the Daubert hearing, Edwards argues that if a defense attorney requests a Daubert hearing, and that request is denied, the defendant's right to a fair trial is violated. Evid.R. 702, which governs expert testimony, provides the following:
{¶11} "A witness may testify as an expert if all of the following apply:
{¶12} "(A) The witness' testimony either relates to matters beyond the knowledge or experience possessed by lay persons or dispels a misconception common among lay persons;
{¶13} "(B) The witness is qualified as an expert by specialized knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education regarding the subject matter of the testimony;
{¶14} "(C) The witness' testimony is based on reliable scientific, technical, or other specialized information. To the extent that the testimony reports the result of a procedure, test, or experiment, the testimony is reliable only if all of the following apply: (1) The theory upon which the procedure, test, or experiment is based is objectively verifiable or is validly derived from widely accepted knowledge, facts, or principles; (2) The design of the procedure, test, or experiment reliably implements the theory; (3) The particular procedure, test, or experiment was conducted in a way that will yield an accurate result."
{¶15} "Trial courts have broad discretion in determining the admissibility of expert testimony, subject to review for an abuse of discretion. * * * In general, courts should admit such testimony when material and relevant, in accordance with Evid.R. 702 * * *."9 Under Daubert, the trial court assumes a gatekeeper function and determines whether to permit an expert to testify by assessing the reliability of an expert's principles and methodology and the relevance of the testimony.10
{¶16} Edwards takes issue with the reliability of Dr. Makoroffs testimony and argues that the trial court failed to inquire into Dr. Makoroff's methodology and whether that methodology had been accepted in the scientific community. Dr. Makoroff was one of S.E.'s treating physicians at Children's Hospital. Dr. Makoroff noted that S.E. had massive retinal hemorrhages (bleeding in the back of the eyes), subdural hematomas (bleeding around the brain), and brain swelling. Based upon Dr. Makoroff's examination of S.E., the tests performed on S.E., S.E.'s medical history, and interviews with S.E.'s family, Dr. Makoroff used differential diagnosis to conclude that, in her opinion, S.E.'s injuries could only have come from abusive head injury to the exclusion of other possible causes. In another case dealing with abusive head injury, or shaken-baby syndrome, we determined that differential diagnosis "is a standard scientific method for determining causation."11 Therefore, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in finding Dr. Makoroff's testimony reliable under Daubert and Evid.R. 702.
{¶17} Edwards also argues that no evidence was presented regarding Dr. Makoroff's expertise in brain trauma. This argument is without merit. Dr. Makoroff testified that she had been a pediatrician with Children's Hospital for 13 years. She was board-certified as a child-abuse pediatrician, and in both her research and her practice, she had developed an area of interest in head injury. Thus, we conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting Dr. Makoroff's expert testimony and denying Edwards's request for a Daubert hearing. We overrule Edwards's second assignment of error.
Other-Acts Evidence
{¶18} In his third assignment of error, Edwards contends that the trial court erred in admitting certain "other acts" evidence...we overrule Edwards's third assignment of error.
Sufficiency and Weight of the Evidence
{¶23} In Edwards's fourth assignment of error, he argues that there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction, and that his conviction was against the manifest weight of the evidence. To reverse a conviction for insufficient evidence, we must determine whether "any rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime proven beyond a reasonable doubt."16 In contrast to the sufficiency issue, appellate review of the weight of the evidence puts the appellate court in the role of a "thirteenth juror."17 Thus, we must review the entire record, weigh the evidence, consider the credibility of the witnesses, and determine whether the jury clearly lost its way and created a manifest miscarriage of justice in finding Edwards guilty.18
{¶24} According to the evidence in the record, S.E. was generally a happy, healthy baby boy until December 26, 2008. Edwards and other family members testified that, on Christmas Day of 2008, S.E. behaved like a normal three-monthold. S.E. kicked his legs, smiled at people, and cooed. Vivian Lumpkin, Tammy Gries (S.E.'s mother), and Fatimah Lumpkin (Edwards's sister) testified that they noticed that S.E.'s head appeared larger than normal that day. But the three also testified that they had failed to tell that to detectives or hospital staff in the days following S.E.'s injuries.
{¶25} Edwards was left alone to care for S.E. on Christmas night. Pursuant to JFS's family-safety plan, JFS allowed Edwards to have caretaking responsibilities for S.E. starting November 24, 2008. Originally, JFS had permitted only Vivian and Fatimah Lumpkin, who also lived with Edwards, to have caretaking responsibilities for S.E. Gries was permitted to see S.E. daily, but JFS did not allow Gries to have caretaking responsibilites for S.E.
{¶26} Edwards testified that S.E. had behaved normally on Christmas night and into the early morning hours of December 26. Edwards testified that he went downstairs to do some laundry around 2:30 a.m., and that as he was coming back upstairs, he heard S.E. cry out in an unusual manner. Edwards picked up S.E. and held him, and then S.E. suddenly went limp and stopped breathing. Edwards called the paramedics after he had failed to revive S.E. with CPR. Paramedics testified that when they arrived, S.E. was lying on a recliner, and that no one was in the room with S.E.
{¶27} As we have noted, Dr. Makoroff testified about S.E.'s severe injuries. Dr. Makoroff concluded that S.E.'s injuries were the result of abusive head trauma. Dr. Makoroff further testified that, as result of S.E.'s injuries, S.E. could not breathe on his own, was blind, would never be able to walk, and was unresponsive to his environment.
{¶28} Based upon the evidence in the record, we cannot say that Edwards's conviction for child endangering was against the manifest weight of the evidence or supported by insufficient evidence. Consequently, we overrule Edwards's fourth assignment of error.
Excessive Sentence
{¶29} Finally, in Edwards's fifth assignment of error, he argues that his eight-year sentence, although within the statutory range for the offense, was excessive...we overrule Edwards's fifth assignment of error.
{¶31} Therefore, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.
Judgment affirmed.
Dinkelacker, P.J., Hildebrandt and Fischer, JJ.

SBS: Pennsylvania: 10 year old found responsible for death of Heath Ryder at day care

Myles Snyder
CHAMBERSBURG, Pa.
A jury seated to hear testimony in a coroner's inquest has found a 10-year-old girl and her babysitter criminally responsible for the death of an infant at a Shippensburg home last summer.
The findings came after two days of emotional testimony at Franklin County Coroner Jeffrey Conner's inquest into the death of 10-month-old Heath Ryder, who died at Penn State Hershey Medical Center four days after suffering injuries July 29 at the home day care operated by Dottie Bowers.
Jurors recommended a charge of involuntary manslaughter against Bowers and a charge of third-degree murder against the 10-year-old, who is accused of shaking and tossing the baby.
Dr. Mark Dias, a pediatric neurosurgeon who treated Heath at Penn State Hershey, testified Friday that the infant suffered extremely traumatic brain injuries consistent with shaken baby syndrome.
"I don't see how this could be accidental," Dias said. "This had to have been violent; significant, violent trauma."
Dias said that based on the evidence, he concluded that Heath's injuries were caused by the 10-year-old.
A seven-year-old girl who attended the home day care testified Thursday that she witnessed the 10-year-old shake Heath and throw him in a crib. She said she felt his stomach and his nose and noticed that "nothing was moving."
A state police criminal investigator later testified that the girl's story had changed since he interviewed her.
The 10-year-old was called as a witness Thursday, but chose to remain silent.
Dias added that there wasn't much doctors could do once Health arrived at the hospital, but said his injuries might have been treatable had Bowers called 911 when she found him unresponsive. Police testified yesterday that Bowers never made the call for help.
Heath's mother, Sherry Ryder, told jurors that she made the emergency call after Bowers ignored her pleas. She said she was on her way home from work when Bowers phoned to say Heath would not wake up and was breathing abnormally. She said she rushed to the home to find her son limp and lifeless, and called 911 while she performed CPR.
Bowers was called before the jury Friday, but she also exercised her Fifth Amendment right to not testify.
The findings of the jury are non-binding. Prosecutors may decide or decline to pursue the charges.
"I can change the opinion of the jury," Conner said. "I have the right to give my own and once I give the decision to the district attorney, he can still give his own decisions. There is nothing binding about this. This is to gather more information and to gather the opinion of some jurors, so this is not at all from law enforcement."
Heath's family cried as the jury announced its findings and later said they were happy with the verdicts.
"I think it's the beginning," Cliff Swartz said. "It will be the first step in the beginning of the healing process."

SBS: Pennsylvania: Coroners Jury to determine cause of death of Heath Ryder

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -
A hearing was held in Franklin County on Thursday to help determine if anyone should be held criminally responsible for the death of a ten-month old baby who died last summer after he was injured at day care.
This was the first time in more than a decade that officials have held a Coroner's Inquest.  The inquest is similar to a court hearing. On Thursday, several witnesses testified in front of a jury.
Franklin County Coroner Jeffrey Conner explained, "The purpose of a coroner's inquest is to assist a District Attorney and assist myself to help determine a physical cause and manner of death."
The hearing was intense and emotional. Heath Ryder died at Penn State Hershey Medical Center just days after he was injured at day care.
His mother, Sherry Ryder testified that on July 29, she got a call she never expected on her way home from work. That morning she dropped her baby boy off at Dottie Bower's Shippensburg home. She had been sending both of her sons to the day care since 2009. That evening when she went to pick up Heath, Ryder testified she found him limp and lifeless.
Bowers never called 911 to get help. Instead, she called Ryder, who rushed to the house. Once Ryder saw her son, she pleaded with Bowers to call for help. In Thursday's hearing, Ryder's 911 call was played. During the call you can hear her trying to give information and revive her baby.
Another witness, a seven-year-old girl who attended the same home day care, testified that she witnessed another child, a 10-year-old girl shaking the baby. She said during the hearing, "I could see her shaking him. She threw him in the crib. I went in and felt his stomach and his nose and nothing was moving." The girl demonstrated what she saw to jurors by violently shaking a baby doll.
Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Investigator Trooper Bopp later testified that the girl's story had changed since he interviewed her. Still, he explained that the baby's injuries were consistent with shaken baby syndrome, and that a panel of doctors agreed during a hearing last November at the attorney general's office that the 10-year-old girl was capable of the act.
The 10-year-old was called in as a witness during Thursday's hearing, but pleaded the Fifth Amendment. A videotaped interview with the child and state police was played during the hearing. She admitted being involved during that interview.
The jury, comprised of six women and two men, will ultimately decide who will be held criminally responsible. They will hear more testimony on Friday morning.
Heath Ryder's organs were donated, saving the lives of three others.

SBS: Illinois: Ibrahim Kibayasi tried for 1st degree murder

By Barbara Vitello
Ibrahim Kibayasi insists he never intended to hurt his son, let alone kill him.
“I didn’t want to kill my son,” said the Mount Prospect man, wiping away tears as he testified in his own defense Wednesday to conclude the third day of his first-degree murder trial. “I didn’t bring him into this world to kill him.
 Authorities say Kibayasi, 31, shook 5-month-old Dylan Kibayasi on Sept. 3, 2009, causing a subdural hematoma that resulted in the child’s death several days later.
He testified he was happy to learn in November 2008 that his girlfriend was carrying their son.
“It’s the dream of every man to have a boy,” said Kibayasi, who came to the U.S. from Tanzania in 2002 to attend college in Atlanta. After a year, he testified that he relocated to Illinois and worked at a Bloomingdale nursing home, as a phone technician for Motorola and as a transportation analyst.
Under direct examination from defense attorney Robert Callahan, Kibayasi testified that Dylan had slept fitfully the night of Sept. 2 and had been ill for several days with a slight fever, diarrhea and vomiting. Kibayasi admitted he had a lot on his mind that day and that he “got a little frustrated” with Dylan’s crying.
“I just lost my mind,” said Kibayasi describing how he grabbed the baby and shook him three or four times, saying, “Why are you crying?”
He said he freaked out when Dylan lost consciousness and attempted CPR on the baby. The baby opened his eyes and started crying which Kibayasi said he believed was a good sign. As they drove to the hospital, Dylan appeared to revive, so Kibayasi went instead to pick up his girlfriend, Dylan’s mother, from work. On the way home, Dylan suffered a seizure and was transported by paramedics to Lutheran General Hospital.
Emergency pediatrician Dr. Clifford Spanierman testified that he determined the baby suffered an intracranial injury to the brain consistent with shaken baby syndrome,
“Due to the dramatic onset of symptoms, it appeared to be very recent, within hours,” Spanierman said.
Spanierman further testified that Dylan’s injury would have required “considerable force” and would not have resulted from an infant’s daily activities. However, he added that the baby suffered no skull fracture, neck, spinal cord or soft tissue damage.
Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Mike Clarke minced no words in cross-examining Kibayasi, challenging his claims that he lost his mind and didn’t realize what he was doing at the time.
“You realize now you killed your son,” Clarke said.
“I can’t say I killed him,” said Kibayasi who testified for about one hour. “I didn’t know anything at the time. I didn’t know it would cause his death.”
Under Clark’s cross-examination, Kibayasi admitted he had problems controlling his anger. He also said he didn’t tell his girlfriend because he felt guilty.
“I was in denial. I kept telling myself ‘I didn’t cause this,’” he said.
Kibayasi claimed he didn’t tell paramedics or emergency room physicians about the shaking because he believed they were experts who knew what to do.
“I sit in my jail cell thinking, ‘How did it happen?’ ‘What was I thinking?’” Kibayasi said.
Closing arguments are scheduled for Thursday afternoon at the Rolling Meadows courthouse.
http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20110420/news/704209796/#ixzz1KC6OpjLs

SBS: New Jersey: Justim Benitez charged; child blind in one eye

April 19, 2011
MARLENE NAANES
 
A 5-month-old Paterson infant suffering from shaken baby syndrome is blind in one eye, and it could be weeks before doctors know the full extent of her injuries.
A doctor told investigators that the girl is blind from a detached retina, Sgt. Bert Ribeiro said. The girl was in critical but stable condition at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center.
Police arrested the girl’s father after doctors discovered on Thursday that she was suffering from the syndrome. The baby’s mother brought the infant girl into St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center about 1 a.m. Thursday after the baby was not as alert as she normally would be.
Police charged the father, whom they identified as Justin Benitez, 26, with two counts of aggravated assault.
Benitez, who lived with the baby, was under guard at a local hospital after saying he did not want to live and scratching up his wrists, Ribeiro said. It was unclear what he used to hurt himself.
The charges stem from an alleged assault on Thursday and another incident on March 21 when the baby was taken to St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center.
Investigators did not release details about the incidents but said the mother was not present when the alleged assault took place.
The Division of Youth and Family Services was notified of both incidents, but Paterson police were not called in March, Rodriguez said. It is unclear why.
DYFS did not comment, citing privacy laws.
Shaken baby syndrome is a serious brain injury that occurs when someone shakes an infant, usually to stop the baby from crying, according to the state Department of Children and Families.
Shaking a baby can cause bleeding on the brain, which can lead to death, brain damage and developmental delays.
http://www.northjersey.com/news/crime_courts/041911_Paterson_shaken_baby_loses_sight_in_one_eye.html

Thursday, 14 April 2011

SBS: Arizona: James Arviso charged with child abuse

The next court appearance has been set for May 4 for James Arviso, the father arrested earlier this week on charges of child abuse.
Arviso pleaded not guilty during his arraignment Wednesday morning. His appearance was in Yuma County Superior Court because he had been indicted by the grand jury and arrested Tuesday on a felony warrant, said Roger Nelson, chief criminal deputy Yuma County Attorney.
During Wednesday's appearance, Arviso also was appointed an attorney and bond was set at $500,000. He remains in custody in the Yuma County Adult Detention Center.
Arviso, 43, and Mandy De Los Reyes, 33, both face child abuse charges stemming from severe physical injuries sustained by their 9-month-old daughter in late March.
De Los Reyes was arrested in Phoenix Tuesday and booked into a jail there. She had not made a court appearance in Yuma as of Friday afternoon, Nelson said.
Both parents have been charged with child abuse, aggravated assault and hindering prosecution.
At 5:16 p.m. on March 22, Yuma Police Department officers were called to an apartment in the 2300 block of South Madison Avenue to investigate the circumstances behind an infant having difficulty breathing.
The infant was transported to Yuma Regional Medical Center and airlifted to Phoenix Children's Hospital with life-threatening injuries.
A YPD investigation revealed the infant suffered from severe injuries as a result of Shaken Baby Syndrome. She also had a significant human bite mark on her left cheek.
These injuries may lead to life-long complications or disabilities for the victim, YPD reported.
Joyce Lobeck can be reached at jlobeck@yumasun.com or 539-6853.

SBS: Georgia: Thomas Beasley sentenced to 110 years

Sandy Hodson April 9, 2011
 
The first time Tom and April Beasley's oldest son nearly died, the doctors believed the child had excessive fluid on his brain.
    Thomas G. Beasley Jr.: Man was sentenced to 110 years for the abuse of his sons, one of whom lives with permanent brain damage.
Thomas G. Beasley Jr.: Man was sentenced to 110 years for the abuse of his sons, one of whom lives with permanent brain damage.
The doctor ordered a full MRI. The test found that in addition to two brain injuries, the child had four healing rib fractures.
"Dr. (Yong) Park further added that there was no way to determine the age of these injuries, but there was no doubt that (the boy) was a victim of child abuse," Lee Woods, then a Richmond County detective, wrote in a report.
Richmond County Division of Family and Children Services caseworker Monique Duggins obtained temporary custody of the boy and his infant brother.
Dr. Elizabeth Sekul also told Juvenile Court Judge Herbert Kernaghan at a hearing on Dec. 18, 2001, that the older Beasley son was abused. She explained that the toddler had suffered a shear brain injury, which indicates shaken baby syndrome. Someone shook the child while squeezing him around the torso, she believed.
The physicians, the DFCS caseworker, and the Court Appointed Special Advocate all believed the children needed protection. But Kernaghan threw out the child advocate's testimony, and less than a month after doctors concluded that the 3-year-old suffered two life-threatening events, the judge sent the Beasley children home.
It was the first time the child protective services system failed the children, but not the last, according to approximately 5,000 pages of documents The Augusta Chronicle reviewed. Police reports, hospital records, interviews, and reports by DFCS and Court Appointed Special Advocates show Kernaghan, and later social workers, ignored attempts to expose Beasley.
Because the system operates in secrecy, seven more years would pass before anyone outside this confidential circle learned what Beasley was doing to his children and how the system had failed to protect them.
As Assistant District Attorney Hank Syms would tell a jury in November, why Tom Beasley was able to abuse his sons for years -- until the older boy suffered permanent brain damage and both boys endured suicidal depression while still in grade school -- might never be understood.
THE PROSECUTOR'S FILE on the Beasleys revealed that several people tried to save the children, but the system brushed them off.
When Kernaghan sent the boys back to their parents, Duggins, the caseworker, was so concerned that she went to those in charge of the Augusta DFCS office, who consulted higher-ups in Atlanta. They got Special Assistant Attorney General Gary Glover to ask Kernaghan to reconsider his order, but the judge denied the request in July 2002, and nothing further was done.
Lee Woods, the sheriff's detective, sought to have Beasley prosecuted in late 2001 and into 2002, but the then-3-year-old son was too young or too scared to say what happened to him. That, compounded by the inability to determine when the boy was injured and who was responsible, made prosecution impossible, then-Chief Assistant District Attorney Bill Bowcutt explained to Woods.
Juvenile Court Judge Willie Saunders, who prosecuted child cruelty cases before leaving the district attorney's office for private practice, said it's common for an abused child to deny it. Sometimes, it takes prolonged age-appropriate counseling and time for a child to open up. And if a child fears he will be taken from his home, even an abusive one, it's traumatic.
Beasley and his wife denied the abuse, and Beasley had a script his wife and sons had to follow to explain the boys' injuries.
At first, Beasley was convincing, said Dan Hillman, the director of Augusta's Child Enrichment Center. When Beasley could no longer convince someone that nothing was wrong, he used intimidation.
"Everyone was scared of him," Hillman said.
The Beasley family flew under the radar for about two years. The boys, always clad in long-sleeve shirts and long pants, were not allowed to play with other children. Beasley, disabled by a back injury in 2000, was their full-time caretaker.
In February 2005, school nurse Tina Wisniewski at Sue Reynolds Elementary called Beasley. His older son had a fever and his stomach was swollen. Beasley refused to come for the boy until she threatened to call an ambulance. It was the third time the child nearly died.
Back at MCG again, Beasley refused to let doctors run a CT scan -- a similar procedure that led to the discovery of broken ribs and the first abuse allegations. The hospital chairman had to be brought in to settle the conflict between Beasley and the medical staff. The child required emergency surgery and several weeks in the hospital.
A year later, DFCS caseworker Brian Wilson was called to the school to see the oldest boy. The child had returned to school on Feb. 28, 2006, after being absent the day before. There was bruising and swelling above and below his left eye. Wisniewski, the school nurse, told him it was the third time the child showed up with a black eye that school year.
A doctor who examined the brothers after they were taken into custody reported both had scars and marks indicating physical abuse. Wilson and the CASA volunteer recommended that the children stay in state custody, at least until the Beasleys underwent psychological testing and attended parenting classes. The older boy was admitted to the hospital again, this time because he was suicidal.
Three weeks later, Kernaghan, who died in 2007, sent the boys back to their parents.
THE BEASLEYS sold their Richmond County home and in July 2006 moved to Columbia County, away from teachers and the school nurse whom Beasley blamed for what he considered hounding by DFCS.
It wasn't long before the new teachers in Columbia County became suspicious. The first call to DFCS about bruises, welts and scratches was deemed unfounded when caseworker Kendall Jones asked the boys whether they had been abused, and they denied it, in June 2007.
About five months later, during the new school year, Michele Sherman, then principal of Greenbrier Elementary, called DFCS when the younger Beasley son's first-grade teacher realized he could barely sit. DFCS caseworker Dondiel Johnson closed the case because "no identified needs were found."
On Feb. 28, 2008, Sherman and teacher Jill Coleman took pictures when the older boy came to school with a knot on his forehead, and the younger with a bruise on his face. When the principal called DFCS again, she said she was told to stop calling.
Four days later, the Beasleys took their older son, now 9, to the Medical College of Georgia Hospital's emergency room. This time, the brain injury left the boy blind in one eye, deaf in one ear, partially paralyzed and intellectually damaged.
Beasley pressured a doctor to put in his son's medical records that the boy's injuries could have been caused, as he insisted, by a fall inside the house.
During the weeks that followed, Beasley refused hospital staff's requests for a parent to remain at night to ensure the little boy didn't fall out of bed. Beasley was adamant he would take the boy home instead of following the doctors' recommendation for specialized in-patient rehabilitation in Atlanta.
This time, Columbia County DFCS office director Linda Joesbury got involved in the case. The agency went to Juvenile Court Judge Doug Flanagan to get state custody. The older boy went to the Atlanta hospital, and his brother went to a foster family.
The once quiet and well-behaved 7-year-old became a terror in a series of foster homes and in three different schools, where he spent most of his time in the principals' offices.
On one occasion, he was holding the teddy bear Sherman kept in the Greenbrier office. "He pinches. Dad pinches (his brother) when he is sick. He digs his nails in as hard as he can," the principal heard him say to the bear.
For the younger son of Beasley, relating the tale of abuse came out in bits. He tried to explain what happened to his brother, but just talking about it was traumatizing. The boy said he saw his father snatch his brother up by the feet and drive his head into the wood floor.
When a dentist asked him how he got a scar on the inside of his lip, the child balled up a fist and aimed at his mouth. "Pow," he said. He was hospitalized twice with suicidal depression. The doctors diagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder. His older brother couldn't remember what happened, but he had nightmares and crying spells.
Beasley and his wife were indicted June 25, 2008, on child abuse charges based on the physical injuries and the younger boy's account of what had been happening since they moved to Columbia County.
Beasley also held their heads underwater, forced them into too-cold and too-hot baths, and made them stay in uncomfortable positions for long periods of time, the boy said.
Once separated from her husband, April Beasley, who testified she was cowed by the years of abuse, confirmed her younger son's account. She testified against her ex-husband in November 2010 and pleaded guilty in February 2011 to child cruelty for the two-day delay in seeking medical treatment in March 2008. She received a probated sentence and is working to regain custody of her sons, who are now living with her mother and stepfather.
A COLUMBIA COUNTY Superior Court jury convicted Tom Beasley on Nov. 17 after deliberating less than 15 minutes. The judge, at the urging of prosecutors, imposed the maximum sentence possible, 110 years in prison.
According to the Coalition to End Child Abuse Deaths, nearly 20 million reports of suspected abuse and neglect have been made in the past decade. Although about two-thirds are deemed unfounded, it is often only a matter of time before new reports are filed and abuse is substantiated.
By that time, as with the Beasley children, the damage is done.
"The cycle of abuse doesn't stop with the physical act," Saunders, the juvenile court judge, said. "The psychological and emotion scars can and do last a lifetime."
http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/crime-courts/2011-04-09/records-show-cycle-sons-vicious-abuse

Subdural hematoma from non-contact injury

The family of a Choctaw High School student who suffered permanent brain injury in 2007 at an after-school fundraiser was awarded nearly $6.9 million.
In March, Cinco Bayou residents Tatiana Abernathy, and her son, Dakota, 18, were awarded the money by First Judicial Circuit Judge Thomas Remington, who issued a summary judgment for the $6.9 million, plus attorney and court fees against Interstate Fire and Casualty Company and the Choctaw Touchdown Club, Inc.
Product liability cases against Funtastic Factory, Inc., and Emerald Coast Entertainment, LLC are still pending.
Dixie Dan Powell, attorney at law with Powell Powell, and Powell, P.A. law firm in Crestview represented the Abernathys in the lawsuit. Powell said the award amount was the third largest in Okaloosa history.
“We were set for a jury trial in February,” Powell said. “But we received the verdict by the judge.”
Attorneys for the defendants appealed Wednesday, which Powell said he expected. The defendants will have to place the $6.9 million into an account, plus 6 percent interest, pending the outcome of the appeal, which is expected to take six to 18 months to complete, Powell said.
In April 2007, Dakota Abernathy, 14 and an eighth grader at Meigs Middle School at the time, was critically injured while playing on an inflatable “bungee run” while attending the First Annual Jellyfish Festival at Choctaw High School’s football stadium.
The school’s Touchdown Club, made up of football patrons, school alumni, players’ parents and family members who want to help the athletic program, was sponsoring the fundraiser.
Dakota Abernathy was strapped into bungee cords and ran to the end of what resembled a bowling alley lane, and was snapped back to his starting place by the cords, his mother, Tatiana Abernathy, said. In the bungee run, the harder the participant strains against the bungee cords, the harder the recoil.
After exiting the bungee run, Dakota Abernathy complained of being dizzy, threw up and went into convulsions.
A medical helicopter transported him from Etheredge Stadium in Fort Walton Beach to Sacred Heart Hospital Pediatric Intensive Care Unit in Pensacola where he underwent emergency surgery to remove a piece of his skull to ease brain swelling and drain blood buildup from a severe subdural hematoma. In a coma, Dakota Abernathy was placed on a ventilator and doctors described it at the time as “shaken baby syndrome multiplied,” Tatiana Abernathy said.
Doctors told her only 5 percent of adults with that type injury survive.
But Dakota did survive, undergoing months of rehabilitation at a hospital in Atlanta. He is now a senior at Choctaw and, with special provisions, will graduate this year.
“My world turned upside down that day,” Tatiana Abernathy said. “I was volunteering at a booth at the festival. Dakota was running around being a 14-year-old and the next thing I knew someone was running up and said Dakota had been hurt.”
The next hours turned into days, weeks and months as he emerged from the coma and slowly progressed to “start all over.”
“He had to learn to swallow, chew and walk; he had to re-learn everything again,” Tatiana Abernathy said. “I brought home a baby in Dakota’s body.”
Although the injury was life changing, Dakota’s life goes on.
“He knew from an early age that he wanted to be an Air Force pilot,” Tatiana Abernathy said. “He loved music, played trumpet in Meig’s jazz band and played in the symphonic band. Within a day he could play any piece of music.”
However, Dakota is no longer capable of pursuing his dream to become a pilot and can no longer play the trumpet.
“He is not the same kid; the one I raised to age 14 is gone,” Tatiana Abernathy said, her voice choking with emotion. “All his friends are going on to do great things after high school graduation and he struggles with the normal things.”
Dakota is self-conscious about himself since the injury and cannot process emotions as he once did, his mother said. He is on several daily medications and sees doctors regularly. His mother works as an accountant and is a single parent. 
“It has been a long journey to get to this place with the lawsuit,” Tatiana Abernathy said. “Our home was almost in foreclosure; life four years later is just still an everyday struggle.
“I am so thankful that Mr. Powell took this case. He treats us like we are members of his family and he has given more to this case than was ever asked of him as a professional. He has worked to make the financial burden of Dakota’s injury and new life doable.”
 “I don’t want Dakota and Tatiana to think for one moment that this is not the fourth quarter and the two-minute warning has just sounded, because it has,” Powell said. “It’s been a long four years for both of them.”

SBS: Virginia: Brent Snyder pleads guilty to murder

Pale and speaking in a low voice, Brent Snyder said he was sorry after
entering guilty pleas to charges of felony child neglect and murder in Lancaster County's circuit court Monday morning.
The proceeding took about 15 minutes and ended a saga that started Sept. 14, 2010 when Holly Selph came home to find her 5-month-old baby unconscious and Snyder saying the child had fallen.
After satisfying himself that Snyder knew the ramifications of his pleas and the contents of an agreement he'd made with the Commonwealth, Judge Harry T. Taliaferro sentenced Snyder to 40 years in the penitentiary with all but 14 years suspended on the homicide charge and 10 years with all but two suspended on the neglect charge.
Lancaster County Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Julian Harmon summarized the evidence, which would have shown that the child was found to be dead after being rushed to the Medical College of Virginia and that during treatment and at its autopsy, evidence of "shaken baby syndrome" was found. Defense Counsel John Hamilton stipulated the evidence was as Harman represented it.
In addition to serving 16 years in prison, Snyder will be on supervised probation for five years following his release.

http://www.northernnecknews.com/news/view_sections.asp?idcategory=49&idarticle=3831

SBS: Virginia: Paul Sanlan Farthing Jr pleads guilty to 2nd degree manslaughter

April 10, 2011
BEREA — A Richmond man charged with murdering his infant daughter pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter.
Paul Sanlan Farthing Jr. of Richmond entered the plea Thursday in Madison Circuit Court. The recommended sentence is 10 years, according to Commonwealth’s Attorney David Smith.
Farthing was arrested April 14, 2010, after his 3-month-old daughter, Rylee Jean Campbell, died at the University of Kentucky Medical Center, from what doctors there said was shaken baby syndrome. She had been in the care of her father prior to her injuries.
Farthing’s family told the Register the baby’s injuries had been accidental, saying the infant had slipped into the water while Farthing was giving her a bath, and when he grabbed her, he accidentally hit her head on the faucet.
But the baby’s maternal grandmother often disputed those claims in talks with the Register.
The indictment accused Farthing of causing the baby “to suffer traumatic brain injuries which resulted in her death.”
Sentencing is scheduled for May 12.
http://richmondregister.com/localnews/x564243820/Richmond-man-pleads-guilty-in-infant-daughter-s-death

SBS: Ohio: Tiffani Calise trial delayed

Baby sitter's murder trial is delayed at least week
Both sides cite need for more time to ready witnesses' testimony
By Ed Meyer
Beacon Journal staff writer


The Summit County trial of a 20-year-old baby sitter charged with murder in the death of a toddler has been delayed for at least one week and possibly much longer.
Tiffani D. Calise was scheduled to go to trial Monday morning before Common Pleas Judge Alison McCarty.
The delay was caused by issues with both sides' expert witnesses, who are expected to provide conflicting testimony about the forensic analysis of the child's head injuries.
Lawyers for the prosecution and defense told McCarty they needed more time to prepare their positions on the matter, and the judge agreed.
''I don't want anybody to have to try this case with one hand tied behind their back,'' McCarty said.
If the issues cannot be resolved by next Monday, when another hearing is scheduled, McCarty said the trial could be pushed back to June 6.
In other developments in the case, Summit County Assistant Prosecutor Gregory Peacock told the judge that the state has been prepared to settle the case with a plea to involuntary manslaughter and one count of child endangering.
Discussions on the potential plea arose in previous court hearings, Peacock said, but Calise turned down the offer.
It would have given McCarty discretion to impose a sentence of no time in prison, up to a maximum of 10 years, Peacock said.
McCarty questioned Calise about the offer at the conclusion of Monday's hearing, asking the defendant if she still wished to decline the state's offer.
''Yes, ma'am,'' Calise replied.
Calise was caring for her own daughter and a 23-month-old toddler, Aaliyah Ali, when Aaliyah suffered a head injury on the night of Aug. 9 at Calise's Mayfair Road apartment in Green.
After giving Aaliyah a bath,
Calise told authorities and family members she momentarily left the child alone in a nearly empty tub to retrieve a towel.
While she was away, Calise said she heard a thud and returned to find Aaliyah unconscious. The child was taken to Akron Children's Hospital and died two days later.
Calise, who has been held at the county jail since her Aug. 11 arrest, was charged with murder, involuntary manslaughter and two counts of felony child endangering.
Deputy Summit County Medical Examiner Dorothy E. Dean, who performed the autopsy, ruled the death a homicide from ''complications of blunt impact(s) to the head.''
The defense is expected to challenge those findings with an expert in neurosurgery who has filed a detailed report with the court stating Aaliyah died of prolonged oxygen deprivation in the brain from an obstruction in her airway.
The obstruction was believed to be a breadlike substance that emergency room doctors had to remove before they were able to insert a breathing tube, the report said.
If not for that, Aaliyah could have recovered from the head injury, the defense expert said.
On Friday, however, prosecutors expanded on the reports from their experts — Dean and Dr. R. Daryl Steiner of Children's Hospital — with additional details on the possibility of shaken baby syndrome.
Defense co-counsel William Whitaker told the judge in Monday's hearing that it was the first time he became aware of such an issue.
McCarty then granted the trial continuance to give both sides more time to prepare their positions.
Steiner is the longtime director of the Children's Hospital child abuse center.
If Calise goes to trial and is convicted of the murder charge, she could be sentenced to life in prison.
However, according to the indictment, prosecutors would have to prove Calise caused Aaliyah's death as a proximate result of a violent offense in connection with felony child endangering.


Ed Meyer can be reached at 330-996-3784 or emeyer@thebeaconjournal.com.
The Summit County trial of a 20-year-old baby sitter charged with murder in the death of a toddler has been delayed for at least one week and possibly much longer.
Tiffani D. Calise was scheduled to go to trial Monday morning before Common Pleas Judge Alison McCarty.
The delay was caused by issues with both sides' expert witnesses, who are expected to provide conflicting testimony about the forensic analysis of the child's head injuries.
Lawyers for the prosecution and defense told McCarty they needed more time to prepare their positions on the matter, and the judge agreed.
''I don't want anybody to have to try this case with one hand tied behind their back,'' McCarty said.
If the issues cannot be resolved by next Monday, when another hearing is scheduled, McCarty said the trial could be pushed back to June 6.
In other developments in the case, Summit County Assistant Prosecutor Gregory Peacock told the judge that the state has been prepared to settle the case with a plea to involuntary manslaughter and one count of child endangering.
Discussions on the potential plea arose in previous court hearings, Peacock said, but Calise turned down the offer.
It would have given McCarty discretion to impose a sentence of no time in prison, up to a maximum of 10 years, Peacock said.
McCarty questioned Calise about the offer at the conclusion of Monday's hearing, asking the defendant if she still wished to decline the state's offer.
''Yes, ma'am,'' Calise replied.
Calise was caring for her own daughter and a 23-month-old toddler, Aaliyah Ali, when Aaliyah suffered a head injury on the night of Aug. 9 at Calise's Mayfair Road apartment in Green.
After giving Aaliyah a bath,
Calise told authorities and family members she momentarily left the child alone in a nearly empty tub to retrieve a towel.
While she was away, Calise said she heard a thud and returned to find Aaliyah unconscious. The child was taken to Akron Children's Hospital and died two days later.
Calise, who has been held at the county jail since her Aug. 11 arrest, was charged with murder, involuntary manslaughter and two counts of felony child endangering.
Deputy Summit County Medical Examiner Dorothy E. Dean, who performed the autopsy, ruled the death a homicide from ''complications of blunt impact(s) to the head.''
The defense is expected to challenge those findings with an expert in neurosurgery who has filed a detailed report with the court stating Aaliyah died of prolonged oxygen deprivation in the brain from an obstruction in her airway.
The obstruction was believed to be a breadlike substance that emergency room doctors had to remove before they were able to insert a breathing tube, the report said.
If not for that, Aaliyah could have recovered from the head injury, the defense expert said.
On Friday, however, prosecutors expanded on the reports from their experts — Dean and Dr. R. Daryl Steiner of Children's Hospital — with additional details on the possibility of shaken baby syndrome.
Defense co-counsel William Whitaker told the judge in Monday's hearing that it was the first time he became aware of such an issue.
McCarty then granted the trial continuance to give both sides more time to prepare their positions.
Steiner is the longtime director of the Children's Hospital child abuse center.
If Calise goes to trial and is convicted of the murder charge, she could be sentenced to life in prison.
However, according to the indictment, prosecutors would have to prove Calise caused Aaliyah's death as a proximate result of a violent offense in connection with felony child endangering.
http://www.ohio.com/news/119675154.html

AHT: Ohio: Cleveland and Pittsburgh statistics

Madonna Behen April 13 2011

Recession-related stress may have triggered an alarming increase in non-accidental head injuries among infants, new research suggests.
Click here to find out more! The number of babies hospitalized for non-accidental head trauma -- a form of child abuse previously known as shaken baby syndrome -- doubled during the recent recession, according to the study by researchers at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital in Cleveland.
"The reasons for why this is happening are beyond the scope of our study, but it may be that more parents are stressed to the breaking point because of economic problems like unemployment and foreclosures," said lead author Mary I. Huang, a fourth-year medical student at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.
"In many cases, when people are forced to leave their homes, they may be moving in with relatives who might not have as much of a vested interest in taking care of infants," added Huang, who is scheduled to present the paper Wednesday at the American Association of Neurological Surgeons' meeting in Denver. Research presented at meetings is considered preliminary until it is published in a peer-reviewed journal.
The new findings echo a 2010 study by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh. That paper evaluated cases of non-accidental head injury among infants and young children from 2004 through 2009 in four urban children's hospitals. The researchers found almost twice as many cases of abusive head trauma per month in the recession period -- starting in December 2007 -- compared with the period prior to the recession.
The idea for the study came to Huang during her third-year rotation on the pediatric neurosurgery service. "Some of the doctors mentioned that we'd been seeing a lot of non-accidental head trauma, and they wondered if it could have anything to do with the recession," Huang said. "I thought this would be a great question to explore using our trauma registry."
Huang and her colleagues reviewed the hospital's database for cases of non-accidental head trauma (NAHT) in children up to 2 years old from December 2001 through June 2010. During that time, 639 infants under the age of 2 were admitted for traumatic injuries, and 93 of the cases were classified as NAHT.
A total of 43 cases of NAHT occurred in the 31 months of the recession period (December 2007 through June 2010), compared with 50 cases during the 72 months of the non-recession period (December 2001 through November 2007), which represented a 101 percent increase.
Significantly more serious injuries were also noted during the recession, resulting in more deaths and cases of severe brain injury, the research team found.
"We really weren't expecting to see such a big increase," Huang noted. "It was pretty startling for all of us."
During the recession, overall traumas decreased by 8.2 percent, and accidental infant head traumas went down 3.5 percent, but the proportion of months in which at least one infant was admitted for NAHT was 58 percent greater than during the non-recession period.
Pediatric care providers need to be aware of the rise in child abuse during economic downturns and screen appropriately, the authors said.
Dr. Robert Block, professor and chair of pediatrics at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, said the study findings weren't surprising.
"We know that times of increased stress may be more dangerous for babies," he said, "and so it makes sense that in a recession, where there are all kinds of very stressful situations, we would see an uptick in these kinds of injuries."
Block, who is president-elect of the American Academy of Pediatrics, speculated that cuts to social services programs in recent years may have also been a factor.
"Cutting services that support children and families is a terribly wrong-headed move," said Block, "because the babies who are affected, if they survive, will have lifelong consequences as a result of this violent abuse."
http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/brain-and-behavior/articles/2011/04/13/abusive-head-trauma-in-infants-doubled-during-recession-study

SBS: Alberta: Desiree Hansen charged with aggravated assault

A three-day preliminary hearing started on Monday for a woman charged with aggravated assault on a baby.
Desiree Hansen, 28, of Blackfalds was charged in early 2010 after Lacombe emergency service personnel responded to a call.
The male infant was taken to Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre on Jan. 6, 2010.
A ban on publication of evidence heard at the preliminary was ordered by provincial court Judge John Holmes at the request of defence lawyer Gordon Yake.
The hearing is held to determine if there’s enough evidence to warrant the accused stand trial in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench.
The hearing was expected to wrap up this week but has been extended until May 2 to hear from a medical expert on shaken baby syndrome.
Shaken baby syndrome is a form of physical child abuse that occurs when an abuser violently shakes an infant or small child, creating a whiplash-type motion that causes acceleration-deceleration injuries.
 http://www.albertalocalnews.com/reddeeradvocate/news/local/Hearing_set_for_woman_charged_with_shaking_baby_119613004.htm

Report says many of 4,000 babies stillborn each year could be saved with increase in awareness and research

(Blooger's comment)
ONE HAS TO WONDER WHETHER SIDS AND STILLBIRTH MIGHT HAVE COMMON DENOMINATORS

Surgeon in corridor Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
Lack of awareness among health professionals is a contributory factor to the UK's high rate of stillbirths, according to the report.
Around 4,000 babies die unexpectedly in the last months of pregnancy or during labour every year in the UK – one of the highest rates of stillbirth in Europe, according to a major new series of reports by the Lancet.
The medical journal also explodes the popular assumption that a stillborn baby had something wrong with it and "was never meant to be". In fact, only 5% of the 2.6 million babies stillborn worldwide in 2009 had a congenital abnormality.
Even in the UK, stillbirth is a risk for healthy women with normal pregnancies, yet it is little discussed. A third of stillbirths are unexplained here, although poor NHS maternity care is thought to play a part in half of these – more than 600 a year.
The World Health Organisation defines stillbirth as death after 28 weeks of pregnancy – by which time most babies would survive outside the womb. In 2009, the UK rate was 3.5 stillbirths per 1,000 births, which is among the most poorly performing rich nations. Only France, at 3.9 deaths per 1,000 and Austria, with 3.7, do worse.
Launching the series of reports, Lancet editor Dr Richard Horton and senior editor Dr ZoĆ« Mullan pointed up the scale of misery caused by stillbirths around the world. "The grief of a stillbirth is unlike any other form of grief: the months of excitement and expectation, planning, eager questions, and the drama of labour – all magnifying the devastating incomprehension of giving birth to a baby bearing no signs of life."
The series discovered that stillbirth was far less rare than people imagined, they said. "Almost 3 million stillbirths happen worldwide every year, which, even for a country with a developed health system such as the UK, means that 11 sets of parents every day will take home their newborn baby in a coffin."
According to Sands, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity, the UK's 1,000 unexplained stillbirths, following what appears to be a normal pregnancy and labour, far exceeds the 200 unexplained "cot deaths" every year, and yet there is little research to try to find out why babies die in the womb.
Charity Sands present a video on choices after the birth of a still born baby Neal Long, Sands's chief executive, said the deaths of 11 babies every day "is a national scandal which has persisted for far too long in this country. This seemingly endless death toll of thousands of babies every year has the most terrible long-term impact on parents and their families."
At the report's launch Steve Hale, whose son Matthew was stillborn at 38 weeks, described "being catapulted from the joyous anticipation of a baby's birth to the devastation of a stillbirth". Imagine, he said, "your partner ashen white with shock, rocking a dead baby in her arms".
Sands puts the poor UK performance down to lack of awareness, not just among pregnant women but also health professionals. Most stillbirths are potentially preventable – but insufficient work has been done to establish which are the women whose babies are at risk.
A third of stillbirths are to women who are either overweight, smoke or are older than average. These are well-known risk factors in pregnancy, and yet, says Sands, the possibility of stillbirth is not always raised.
The quality of maternity care – and particularly the failure to recognise that there is a problem – is also an issue. The Confidential Enquiry into Stillbirths and Deaths in Infancy reported in the late 1990s that sub-optimal maternity care played a part in half of all unexplained stillbirths. The report cited inadequate staffing on labour wards, a failure to act in high-risk situations and poor record-keeping and communication. Sands says the stillbirth rate has not changed since the report came out. "The problems cited a decade ago persist today," said a spokeswoman.
Charity Sands on how to find a support group Every year, 500 babies die during labour in the UK. In a report in 2006, the then chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson called these "500 missed opportunities". An investigation in the West Midlands into 25 deaths of babies who died during labour found there was sub-standard care in all of them – and that 21 of the babies could have survived.
Stillbirths are a significant problem in sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia, where 76% of the global deaths take place, the Lancet papers say. Researchers have for the first time put together comprehensive estimates of the number of babies, whose deaths are not counted in some countries. They argue that reducing stillbirths needs to be part of the UN's overall Millennium Development Goals on cutting the death toll of women in childbirth and their liveborn babies.
Many of the causes are the same. Proper obstetric care would save 28% of stillborn babies around the world, say researchers, but simple interventions such as screening pregnant women for high blood pressure and screening for malaria would save thousands of lives. Adding in the number of deaths of women and young babies that would also be prevented makes the interventions highly cost-effective, they argue.
Case study:
'He wasn't moving'Anna Lumley had no reason to expect anything other than a normal birth. She prepared for what she expected to be a joyous event, at her own south London home, with the help of local midwives. She was 34 and had experienced a completely normal pregnancy. The scans and check-ups gave her nothing but good news.
But at almost 29 weeks, she began to wonder. "I noticed very slightly less movement, but I was quite big and carrying a lot of water. When you say to people the baby is moving less, they say the baby is bigger and has less room," she said.
Then a whole night passed without any sensation of movement from the baby at all. "I got up and went straight to King's [College Hospital]."
A succession of scans and doctors coming and going followed. Lumley was told they couldn't find a heartbeat. "I could see how shocked one of the doctors looked. They said you have to go downstairs and have a screen on one of the big machines." The result was the same."It's kind of strange – they don't know what to tell you. My brain totally shut down from the moment I heard there was no heartbeat." But the Albany midwives, who worked closely with King's, were fantastic, she said.
Lumley still wanted to give birth to her baby at home, as planned. After many tests, she was given the go-ahead, and five days later, her son Marli was born in front of the living-room fire.
"It was a horrific time, but I still had the birth experience I wanted to have. I felt I'd done him justice by going through that process. My family came over and everybody was able to give him a cuddle."
The postmortem found no reason for Marli's death. Lumley, who is a practice manager in Southwark who works with young offenders, says she knew nothing about stillbirth before he died. "I felt totally out of my depth and totally naive. I felt: how can my baby have died? Nobody ever said there was a risk of that happening."
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/apr/14/stillbirths-babies-uk-lancet-report