Doctors’ doubts on baby ‘abuse’ proof

Medical experts have cast further doubt on the diagnosis of “shaken
baby syndrome”, which is often cited as evidence of child

Writing in the British Medical Journal last week, doctors argue
that bleeding from the eyes alone is not sufficient evidence to
conclude that a child has been shaken hard – contrary to recent

Violent shaking should be indicated only when there is retinal
damage and damage and bleeding in the brain, writes Brian Harding,
a neuropathologist from Great Ormond Street Hospital. Damage to the
neck or spinal cord and gripping injuries would give further

An editorial concludes that, while these conclusions may make
prosecution harder, “a natural desire to protect children should
not lead anyone to proffer opinions unsupported by good quality

– See British Medical Journal issue 328, 2004.

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