Multiple Fracture Scenarios In Shaken Baby Cases
For many parents, accusations of child abuse are completely unwarranted. When this is the case, these allegations understandably come as a complete shock. Often, the accusations are based on unexplained multiple fractures in your child. Even though no one else seems to want to believe you did not intentionally hurt your child, I will.
Perhaps you have recently experienced a scenario like this: You take your child to the doctor because he is fussy or has a swollen leg. Your family doctor examines your child and informs you he has a broken bone or fracture. The family physician then refers you to the hospital. Thinking that the hospital will be better able to treat your son, you take him. Upon arrival, they seem more interested in taking additional X-rays than treating the initial complaint. A few hours later, the doctor comes to the waiting room and tells you that your child has multiple fractures as a result of being abused by you or your spouse. The doctor further informs you that Child Protective Services has taken custody of your child and law enforcement is here to interview you. Your nightmare has begun.
I can help. At Andrew H. Stevenson, Attorney at Law, I protect clients against a range of criminal charges in Lancaster and Athens, Ohio, and have the knowledge and experience to defend those falsely accused of child abuse.
If you are truly innocent, the hope is that the justice system will work for you and you will not be convicted. However, it doesn't always work that way. There are medical and scientific details that many lawyers lack the training to uncover, whereas I have the experience, training and knowledge needed to uncover the medical evidence that could prove you innocent.
Misdiagnosis Is Common In Cases Of Multiple Unexplained Fractures (MUF)
In many multiple fracture cases, doctors or radiologists make a simple diagnostic error that results in a false child abuse accusation. The fractures "seen" by the doctor or radiologist are not readily apparent on an X-ray. You would not be able to see them if you viewed the X-ray. Rather, they appear as small bone abnormalities, which are called classic metaphyseal lesions (CML). Upon finding these, hospital staff members conclude that they are the result of physical abuse, even in the absence of other injuries or evidence of abuse. However, this conclusion is often wrong.
Infants and small children can sustain small fractures or CMLs as a result of routine handling and care. How? The answer lies in what are commonly called metabolic bone diseases (MBDs). These are inherited or acquired medical conditions that weaken children's bones, making them susceptible to fracture from very little force, i.e., routine handling and care. Three of the most common MBDs are osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), rickets and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS).
Osteogenesis imperfecta is a genetic disorder characterized by weak bones that break easily. There is a genetic test that can be performed to determine if a child has OI. Vitamin D deficiency is a serious problem in this country, particularly among infants and small children. More and more often children are sheltered indoors and told to stay out of the sun. The human body needs sunlight to make vitamin D. Without sufficient amounts of vitamin D, bones will become weak and fragile, and this condition is known as rickets in children. Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is an inherited connective tissue disorder that also causes weak and fragile bones that fracture easily. Often, hospitals and doctors do not consider or rule out these underlying metabolic bone diseases when evaluating a child and thereby make a false diagnosis of abuse.
Learn more about the history of Shaken Baby Syndrome and False Accusations of Child Abuse.
I Can Help
This is where I provide unique strength for my clients to overcome the accusations. Most attorneys do not have the knowledge or understanding of these medical issues that I do. They may rely solely on the medical opinion of the hospital or doctor and not know to look beyond that and obtain a second opinion. In defending these cases, I gather all of the medical records, collect the full medical history, obtain second opinions and work with experts to find the real cause of the injuries. I have a Ph.D. and a detailed knowledge of the medical science in this area. This allows me to talk to the experts in their language and understand the subtleties involved in these types of cases.
If there is any evidence in your favor, any possibility to show that you are not guilty, I will find it.