Perhaps it is just the cynic in me that I can rarely look at a media news story without a measure of skepticism. And perhaps it is also that my job as a reporter has me looking at the story from a different angle. . .the one not reported.
So when a seeming rash of ‘shaken baby’ syndrome stories began to appear with regularity in news segments and in print, I began to take notice because the “culprit” was immediately deemed some sort of derelict or troubled dirt bag with mental health issues that probably led to the assault on the infant.
However my radar was up on the possible other side of these stories because of our family’s experience with vaccine injury. You see, a vaccine injured infant can in fact mimic the symptoms of shaken baby syndrome.
In a 2001 article published in the Medical Sentiel, Dr. Harold Buttram, M.D., presented a compilation of 25 cases of individuals accused or convicted of SBS, drawing attention to the similarities of SBS symptoms and those of a child affect by vaccines. It was Dr. Buttram’s contention that there are people in jail now, wrongly accused of something they did not do.
Dr. Buttram wrote that what we are seeing a growth in is not SBS, but something entirely different:
A New Syndrome? Based on observation and a limited but suggestive body of medical literature, it appears that we may be witnessing in many SBS cases the adverse effects from interactions of highly potent vaccines given in combination. These potentially include: Hepatitis B (hemorrhagic vasculopathies, autoimmune reactions, neuropathies), Hemophilus influenza (hypersensitization), tetanus (hyper-sensitization), and pertussis (hypersensitization, brain edema, and the effects of endotoxin in causing vascular inflammation and hyper-coagulability).
There now appears to be a new syndrome that develops within a 12-day period following immunizations, and which may include elements of adverse reactions from each of the vaccines listed above. The most important of these include brain edema and inflammation of blood vessels, resulting in increased fragility and friability of blood vessel walls. These in turn may lead to spontaneous hemorrhages from a shearing of subdural blood vessels and the development of subdural hematomas, thus mimicking what is now thought to represent the SBS.
These findings are as yet largely unrecognized because unsought. In the name of justice to those now wrongfully imprisoned for child abuse leading to the SBS, and to those who will be accused in the future, let us hope that this area receives the investigation that it deserves.
When my son was born in 1999 he had a cry that did not sound like a normal newborn’s cry. It was high-pierced, almost shrieking. When we brought him home it didn’t take long for the neighbors four doors down to tell us they could hear our son crying when they were in their living room. It was a distinctive cry so they knew it was our baby. Later, we would identify that cry as part of the vaccine-induced injury brought on by the flu vaccine I had while pregnant with him. He also was born with bilateral club foot, hypotonia and sensory issues. . .all indicative of mercury exposure in utero.
The point is that our son did not present as a “normal” baby even at birth. But rather than suspect that we were doing something untoward to our baby, our neighbors displayed only mild annoyance or a measure of pity.
So when I received a text from one of the firefighters in town alerting me to a dead baby situation that I may want to report on, I hesitated a bit knowing that my paper tended to avoid stories of a sordid nature; not to mention the media storm that was about to surround this situation. And I was right. My angle of the story would have been pitted against both the official and the unknown details of the story.
The apartment neighbors told police and investigators that the one month old baby boy just never sounded normal. His cry sounded like he was in constant distress. The mother was vilified in the press and beyond, as was the local police department and child protective agency. The case was blown up in the press with news channel vans planted outside the police department as the investigation unfolded.
My instinct on this situation was entirely different than the official story of suspicion that the mother had done something to the baby, and the police department and social services were duplicitous in the baby’s death. Instead I went to my editor and told him my suspicion of vaccine injury was well-founded based on what I know the symptoms to be. And this one had all of the earmarks of a vaccine induced injury.
Gratefully my editor took me seriously and reported just the police issued statement on the matter. The final word was that the autopsy results would be made public within ten weeks. Of course I knew the report would not actually be made public because they were not going to find anything “wrong” with the baby that would lead to charging the mother with abuse or neglect. Turns out I was right on this part too as nothing more was reported on the situation.
Perhaps one of the most notorious cases of SBS involved the death of infant in 1997 who was under the care of an au pair, Louise Woodward. The case was in the headlines throughout the trial and beyond. Physicians back then testified that the boy had a fractured skull and subdural hematoma along with retinal hemorrhaging, deemed indicative of SBS. Woodward was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 15 years. Her appeal reduced the charges to manslaughter and she was sentenced to time served and released in 2002.
In all of this Woodward declared her innocence and even passed a polygraph before the trial. One of the key physicians called to testify on behalf of the prosecution was Dr. Patrick Barnes, a pediatric radiologist who described the injuries of the infant as conducive to Shaken Baby Syndrome. Barnes would eventually backtrack his position, suggesting he would not give the same testimony today. He added that there is a revolution in understanding the kind of head injuries incurred by the infant, meaning there may be other attributable reasons.
"We started realizing there were a number of medical conditions that can affect a baby's brain and look like the findings that we used to attribute to shaken baby syndrome or child abuse,” Barnes said.
What brings this whole topic to mind at this time is that I witnessed someone I know well go through the same accusations of SBS and be brought to trial for injuries sustained by a baby in her day care. This woman (I will call her Leslie) is the epitome of kind, caring, nurturer who would never harm any child, let alone one in her care. She has two young children of her own to tend to, plus two well-adjusted teenagers she had raised as a single mother.
So when the headlines blasted that she had been charged with SBS, I intuitively went to the part of the story not told. The six month old infant had his well-baby check the day before where he received his scheduled vaccinations, which according to the recommendations of the CDC consists of: DTaP, Prevnar, PCV, influenza, Hib, Hep A and perhaps another Hep B (no word on which ones he actually received).
The next day the child was dropped off to Leslie’s home and within the hour the child was having difficulty breathing with the stiff unresponsive body of a child in seizure. Intuitively, Leslie picked up the child and headed outside just in time to flag down a passing police officer who administered CPR and called for ambulance service. That quick action actually saved the infant’s life, but the accusations that would fly would question her judgement of running outside versus calling 911. Yet, if she had called and waited for help the infant likely would have died.
After three years of aspersions of every kind cast on Leslie, the jury acquitted her on all counts in a matter of two hours of deliberation.
It was then that I decided to reach out to Leslie and share with her my suspicions on the role the vaccines may have played in the boy’s injuries. Information on the boy’s current disabilities was not made public, but I knew what they were: seizures, cognitive delays, low muscle tone and other neurological issues. Leslie confirmed my suspicions and then I told her that within a year he would be diagnosed with autism. She looked surprised by this. “But he had bruises on him,” she said, with a look of wonder how bruises would have anything to do with vaccine injury or autism. I later sent her information that explained a condition known as purpura, which is bleeding underneath the skin, linked as a reaction to number of vaccines, including some he may have received the day before he had a seizure in her home.
Leslie elaborated that this boy cried for at least five hours a day, something the parents grappled with at home too. The district attorney tried to suggest that Leslie got sick and tired of the crying and finally hurt the boy. The boy’s pediatrician testified that the boy was perfectly healthy the day before, which Leslie found odd since the boy was a colicky mess of shrieking cries and a diaper that smelled atrocious.
No, something was wrong with this boy, and now Leslie stood accused of the worst of it.
Even after the acquittal Leslie knew the parents would sue her for civil damages and she would be forced to countersue for defamation. The nightmare seemed endless. I began to send her links of vaccine injury which doctors are remiss to recognize and court systems even more so; which means that there are potentially countless others who may face this same scenario of an injustice they have to fight. Her next lawyer would need to have the possibilities at least explained so that when a doctor is on the stand the astute lawyer can ask the pertinent questions.
While I am not a lawyer I would consider asking any physician on the stand if they have ever read the package inserts of a vaccine, followed by if they have ever had a child in their practice suffer significant vaccine damage as listed on the label of the vaccines. I would probably also ask if the physician was familiar with the VICP, VAERS and if they ever filed a claim with either. Then I would turn to the parents and have them describe the child’s behaviors before that fateful day, including the day he received his six month vaccines. Something was wrong even before that day, and they probably felt that way too.
A crisis of injustice
Stories abound around the country of SBS cases where the person was convicted and put on death row. Yet, many in the medical and criminal justice community are beginning to take note of something else going on.
Dr. Norman Guthkelch is the pediatric neurosurgeon who first wrote a paper on SBS, noting that some babies bleed on top of their brains, despite evidence of head trauma. His paper, published in 1971, warned parents of the dangers of shaking their infants. But now, Guthkelch says he has doubts about the way this theory is being used in courts of law, telling the Medill Justice Center project at Northwestern University, “because people are in jail on the basis of what they claim in my paper, when in fact it is nothing like it.”
Indeed. Perhaps it is something entirely different. We need to start looking further at SBS for what it might actually be in some cases—vaccine injury.
Mary Romaniec works as a reporter and is the mother of a child who recovered from autism by the age of four. In addition to mentoring hundreds of families around the U.S. and the world, her articles about autism have appeared in Mothering Magazine, Autism/Asperger Digest, Autism Today, Age of Autism and Journeys Magazine. She is the author of the upcoming book Victory over Autism: Practical Steps and Wisdom toward Recovery for the whole family. Victory Over Autism is available from Skyhorse Publishing.