Attorney’s perspective: Some of the glaring mistakes included the “usual” mistakes. Tension between law and science is the key. The conviction is based almost entirely on the science – doctors look inside the baby’s brain and see markers of injury that used to be deemed diagnostic of this ONE possibility – Shaken Baby Syndrome. Medically diagnosed murder – hypotheses based upon what might cause the injuries. This science cannot be robustly tested. After all, no one will design a study whereby babies are placed in a control group with shaking verse without it.
Doctor’s perspective: Old science verses the new science. In the 1990’s, doctors believed that a triad – bleeding the brain, eyes and brain swelling without an injury. Also, the medical professionals believed the manifestation occurred immediately. Thus, the most recent caregiver was accused. NOW, medical professionals say the triad of injuries (brain bleeding, retinal hemorrhages, brain swelling) may have been shaken, but there may have been other causes. Also, the timing has been extended, thereby increasing the potential “perpetrators”. The manifestation of injury may not occur for several days.
There are also experts that believe that an infection can cause a stroke. Children can have bleeding disorders, metabolic disorders, medical conditions, etc. Doctors are mandatory reporters and do not want to be the one who missed child abuse. However, now doctors are also recognizing the trauma of false accusations and are somewhat more cautious to make referrals.
Shaken Baby Syndrome revisited.