In Michigan, medical professionals are what is called “mandatory reporters.” When they have a reasonable suspicion that child abuse may have occurred, they are required by law to report this to Child Protective Services. In cases where a child is taken to the emergency room due to a head injury, and a subdural hematoma or retinal hemorrhaging is discovered, parents are suddenly under a microscope.
Doctors commonly believe that these types of injuries are most commonly caused by long falls (at least 2 stories), or by car crashes where a child is unrestrained. Many doctors believe that it is improbable that things such as a short fall can cause these types of injuries. When children are brought into the hospital with these injuries, and parents report a short fall or some other minor trauma as being the cause of these injuries, it is assumed that the parents are probably lying. Doctors are often quick to diagnose the issue as Shaken Baby Syndrome.
Unfortunately, these beliefs are not backed up by significant scientific studies. Many biomechanical experts, neurologists, and others support the idea that these types of injuries can result from accidental trauma, and that even short falls can cause these types of injuries. Also requiring exploration and diagnosis would be underlying illnesses or blood disorders. Too often, however, parents find themselves thrust into the CPS or criminal system before a true diagnosis can be completed. Child Protective Services takes the approach to take the babies now, ask questions later. Prosecutors file criminal charges, all in the name of protecting children. They presume that these terrible parents have become so frustrated with their children that they have inflicted head trauma to their children by shaking them, sometimes to death.
If the children come in with the injuries, the presumption, based on the doctor’s faulty assumptions that short falls and accidental trauma cannot be the cause of the injuries, is that the parents have abused their child. The problem is that the criminal justice system and child protective system works faster than the medical system. Before the initial doctors are given time to come up with the true diagnosis, child protection doctors, who are bought and paid for by prosecutors and state agencies, come in and further perpetuate the idea of abuse. CPS comes in and removes the child and their siblings from the home, and parents are frequently criminally charged.
Defending against a shaken baby syndrome abuse allegation is incredibly difficult. The prosecutors and CPS have doctors with whom they have contracted who will come in and testify to anything they need to prove the abuse happened. In order to combat the government’s hired guns, you have to bring in experts of your own.
If you have had your children removed or are criminally charged as a result of a shaken baby syndrome allegation, contact a Michigan child abuse lawyer with the expertise and experience to put your family back together. Call Miel & Carr, PLC at 616-773-2945 for a consultation.