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The Champion

September-October 2018 , Page 58 

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Book Review: The Forensic Unreliability of the Shaken Baby Syndrome

By Kathleen Pakes

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The Forensic Unreliability of the Shaken Baby Syndrome

By Randy Papetti
Academic Forensic Pathology (2017) 


The story is familiar and tragic. An infant is found nonresponsive with no visible signs of trauma. The frantic caretaker calls 911. The child is rushed to the hospital where a CT scan reveals thin subdural hemorrhage and brain swelling. Because the caretaker cannot explain how the child developed these symptoms, the hospital child protection team diagnoses child abuse and reports a crime. The child protection team informs the police and family that the child’s “injuries” are the result of Abusive Head Trauma (AHT) and could only have been inflicted with the force of a high speed car accident or multistory fall. The caretaker is arrested. As the criminal process unfolds the child abuse team advises the police, the medical examiner, and the prosecution. At trial, the child abuse pediatrician informs the jury that the child’s “injuries” were caused by abuse. The caretaker is convicte

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