Battle of Experts Takes Place in Shaken Baby Case

A pediatric expert has given testimony in an ongoing Pennsylvania “shaken baby” case, disputing the prosecution’s allegations that the defendant shook his child.
So reports
Marcia Moore in The Daily Item.

The prosecution charged Mahmoud Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim with attempted homicide, alleging that Ibrahim shook his four-month-old child resulting in brain injury.

A shaken baby syndrome (SBS) diagnosis is generally made after an infant exhibits a so-called “triad” of head and brain injuries. In many “shaken baby cases, the last known caretaker is accused simply because of that status. Here, Ibrahim had been alone with the child for an hour when he began to struggle for breath.

The defense expert witness—a pediatrician—testified that he found no evidence of shaken baby syndrome. He also testified that the injury could have occurred three to seven days before the child was brought to the hospital, disputing the prosecution’s expert’s claim that the child was likely shaken the day before he was brought to the hospital. The defense expert explained that “infants can have a skull fracture and even a brain contusion and still look normal.”

The mother of the child has stated that a day care worker may instead be at fault. She describes Ibrahim as an “attentive father who happily helped out with [the child].”

Ibrahim’s case highlights the problems with SBS, as did that of Nathan Felix—an Everett man accused of shaking his child. There, Washington Child Protective Services took custody of both of the Felix children. His family underwent a long legal battle to regain custody and fight the criminal proceedings. The Felixes later settled their suit against Child Protective Services, the Washington State Department of Health and Human Services, and Group Health Co-operative for $55,000—a modest sum in light of what they suffered. The Felix case is detailed by James Ross Gardner in the Seattle Met.