[an error occurred while processing this directive]

I-Team looks into reports of shaken baby syndrome

Updated: Saturday, May 24, 2014 |
I-Team looks into reports of shaken baby syndrome story image
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - With several high-profile cases centering on child abuse charges related to shaken baby syndrome in courts across West Michigan right now, the Newschannel 3 I-Team is taking a closer look at the science both prosecution and defense depend on.

A pediatrician at Spectrum Hospital in Grand Rapids told Newschannel 3 that unfortunately all pediatricians are confronted with shaken baby syndrome on a regular basis, but the medicine only goes so far toward proving child abuse.

She says doctors must become detectives themselves.

We examined the issue through the case of war vet Anthony McFarlane and his baby Kaydence.

"Anthony took the girls over to his mothers house where she was going to watch them," said Kaydence's mother Dakota Chitwood.

She adds that while there, Kaydence started having seizures, so her grandparents drove her to the hospital.

"Whenever I got there, I walked in to Kaydence seizing," Chitwood said. "That was the hardest thing I've ever seen."

Three months later, McFarlane was charged with first degree child abuse.

"You have the doctors from the children's hospital try to put a time as to when the injury occurred and then the police officers charge based upon that information," McFarlane's new attorney Elias Muawad said via phone Friday.

Muawad says he's argued in more than a dozen cases that the process is a crapshoot.

"It's not an exact science, and to try to pinpoint the exact time that this child was hurt, if it was shaken baby, in my opinion is virtually impossible," he said.

So we went to Spectrum Hospital to talk to pediatrician Dr. Abeba Berhane.

"It's a very difficult one to diagnose, because some times it can go unnoticed for a few hours, up to a few days," she said.

Dr. Berhane says pinpointing the time and cause of injury is a challenge.

"You can have accidental head trauma that can occur, you can have bleeding disorders," she said.

Back in December, doctors told Chitwood that they found the left side of Kaydence's brain was completely underdeveloped--a situation they attributed to strokes she suffered while in the womb.

"Any time you have damage to the brain, shaken baby syndrome, stroke, hypoxic injury; all those things can show up as brain injury," Dr. Berhane said.

Dr. Berhane says that's why the story becomes very important, as do other injuries the child may have suffered such as bone fractures and contusions.

For example, according to family, baby Kaydence had a healing spiral fracture in her leg when doctors suspected shaken baby syndrome.

This is one of the things McFarlane's attorney says  his experts will discuss in court.
comments powered by Disqus
advertisement

What do you want to see?

If you have a story idea for the I-Team, you can contact us using the form below or by calling 269-388-4612.
Please re-enter the code shown in the image below.

Business News

Last Update on March 03, 2015 18:41 GMT

FINANCIAL MARKETS

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks have given up much of yesterday's gains, as the Nasdaq composite retreats back below 5,000.

The Nasdaq closed above that milestone yesterday for the first time since the dot-com era 15 years ago. John Manley at Wells Fargo Fund Management says it's natural to see "a little flutter" after such a milestone, adding that it could continue "for a few days."

In the S&P 500, eight of the 10 industry sectors are down, though energy shares are up with the price of oil edging above $50 a barrel.

With nearly all companies in the S&P 500 having reported their latest quarterly results, S&P Capital IQ says earnings per share look to have risen a healthy 7.7 percent. But financial analysts expect earnings to drop for the next two quarters.

AUTO SALES

DETROIT (AP) -- Freezing temperatures and drifts of snow likely took a small bite out of U.S. auto sales last month, but most automakers are still reporting gains thanks to the strong economy.

Toyota led major automakers with a 13.3 percent gain over last February. Others came in below analysts' predictions. Chrysler, General Motors, Honda and Nissan all saw gains of 6 percent or less.

Ford's U.S. sales were down 1.9 percent, as dealers lacked the inventory to meet demand for the new F-150 pickup truck.

Volkswagen's sales fell 5.2 percent.

Falling unemployment, low interest rates and new versions of big sellers like the Jeep Cherokee -- which saw sales jump 19 percent in February -- drove buyers to dealerships in many cities.

But bad weather in the mid-South and on the East Coast hurt sales. One Volkswagen dealer in Massachusetts says it had almost no customers for a two-week period at the start of the month.

BEST BUY-DIVIDEND

UNDATED (AP) -- Best Buy shares are higher today after the company announced it is hiking its regular quarterly dividend by 21 percent. The nation's largest consumer electronics chain also will give stockholders a one-time payment from proceeds of legal settlements.

The Minneapolis chain says it will raise its cash dividend to 23 cents per share from 19 cents, and it will pay shareholders a dividend of 51 cents per share culled from the proceeds of some legal settlements over the price of liquid crystal displays, or LCDs, sold in the United States.

LCD technology is used in consumer electronics like flat-panel TVs, computers, and phones.

Best Buy Co. Inc. will pay the special cash dividend and the regular quarterly payout on April 14 to shareholders of record at the close of business on March 24.

EXECUTIVES-ECONOMY

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Top business executives are pressing Congress to give President Barack Obama greater authority to negotiate international trade deals. In a report by the lobbying group Business Roundtable, the CEOs say their expectations for the economy have improved but that business needs more confidence to increase hiring.

The group's survey of 120 executives found that more than half of the CEOs said trade would allow them to hire more U.S. workers.

Forging a 12-nation trade deal with Pacific Rim countries is one of Obama's top priorities this year. Most Republicans support broadening trade. But a majority of Democrats say such agreements put the United States at a disadvantage.

Obama wants power to negotiate deals that Congress can only approve or reject, but not amend.

PFIZER-PNEUMONIA VACCINE

NEW YORK (AP) -- Pfizer's blockbuster vaccine against pneumonia and other bacterial infections has won another approval, for use in European Union residents aged 18 and older.

Prevnar 13, called Prevenar 13 in some countries, is the best-selling vaccine ever.

It protects against 13 strains of pneumococcal disease, the most common bacterial cause of pneumonia and a top cause of death and hospitalization worldwide. It also causes children's ear infections, bloodstream infections and other illnesses.

New York-based Pfizer says more than 750 million doses have been distributed worldwide. Last year, Prevnar's global sales reached $4.5 billion, making it the No. 2 product for the company, which also makes Lipitor and Viagra.

Prevnar 13 is approved in more than 120 countries. In the U.S., it's approved for children from six weeks through 17 years old and adults over 49.

TESTOSTERONE DRUGS-FDA

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Food and Drug Administration is warning about the overuse of testosterone-boosting drugs taken by millions of U.S. men, saying the popular treatments have never been proven safe or effective for treating common signs of aging like low libido and fatigue.

The agency says drugmakers must clarify that their drugs are only approved to treat low testosterone levels caused by disease or injury, not general aging. Additionally, the FDA warned Tuesday that the drugs can increase the risk of heart attack and said drugmakers must add that information to their warning labels.

The federal rebuke comes after years of industry marketing for new pills, patches, gels and injections that promise relief from low testosterone or "Low-T." The advertising blitz has pushed sales of testosterone drugs to over $2 billion.

SUPREME COURT-COLORADO INTERNET TAX

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A unanimous Supreme Court says federal courts have the authority to rule in a dispute over Colorado's Internet tax law.

The ruling Tuesday is a win for business groups that want to challenge the state's so-called "Amazon tax" that requires extensive reporting by retailers that don't collect the state's 2.9 percent sales tax from Colorado customers.

Online retailers challenged the law, claiming it violates protections for companies doing business in other states. A federal court agreed that the law violates the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

But a federal appeals court ruled that tax cases can only be filed in state court.

The high court reversed, finding that retailers were not challenging the actual collection of taxes, only a law giving state officials information about people who owe taxes.

EUROPE-TAX FRAUD RING

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) -- European Union officials say they have broken up a cross-border gang responsible for cheating EU member countries of 150 million euros ($168 million) in tax revenue.

Europol and Eurojust, the EU agencies for law enforcement and criminal prosecution, said nine people were arrested Tuesday in a fast-moving operation that kicked off early in the morning.

Those arrested are suspected of participating in organized fraud that deprived Germany, the Netherlands, Poland and the Czech Republic of major sums of value-added tax payments.

Europol's head of organized crime operations, Michael Rauschenbach, said his agency has had a fully dedicated team in place for six years to fight such tax fraud.

He said the Tuesday crackdown sends a message that the EU is determined to pursue and catch people engaged in such crimes.

advertisement