Last week’s NYTimes Op Ed by a lawyer questioning the diagnosis of shaken baby syndrome did not have a form for comments. So Commonhealth over at WBUR ended up fielding a lot of the angst over the piece.
If you recall, 1997, a British nanny working for a Newton family was convicted of manslaughter after prosecutors said she killed her infant charge by shaking him too hard. Still a touchy subject, apparently.
Last week, CommonHealth linked to a provocative Op-Ed piece in The New York Times on the abusive shaking of babies. Written by law professor Deborah Tuerkheimer, it said that “experts are questioning the scientific basis for shaken baby syndrome. Increasingly, it appears that a good number of the people charged with and convicted of homicide may be innocent.”
In fact, according to one child-abuse expert, Dr. Daniel Lindberg of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Tuerkheimer “systematically distorts the scientific consensus.”
Feelings run so high on this issue, a UK skeptic was barred from testifying in one case, according to New Scientist:
A PATHOLOGIST in the UK who argues that the trademark triad of symptoms of “shaken baby syndrome” (SBS) can have an innocent cause has been prevented from testifying in court as an expert witness. The restriction could stand until January 2012.
Yet, according to researchers and lawyers contacted by New Scientist, there are serious doubts about the safety of many shaken baby convictions. This is despite the fact that the triad of symptoms has been taken as evidence of murder for 40 years.