Author(s): Pierre M, Bouvet R, Balenon M, Roussey M, Le Gueut M, Pierre M, Bouvet R, Balenon M, Roussey M, Le Gueut M
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Shaken baby syndrome (SBS) is defined by the association of intracranial hemorrhage and retinal hemorrhage in infants under 2 years of age, with no obvious external trauma. This syndrome leads to frequent neurological sequelae. Therefore, these infants can claim compensation for damage if sequelae are directly and irrefutably linked to the trauma. Data on the judicial treatment are for the most part inexistent in the medical literature, the reason for which this study was conducted. POPULATION AND METHODS: We conducted a retrospective study over a period of 10 years. We included all cases of SBS reported to the High Courts of the Ille-et-Vilaine department (Rennes and St Malo). The cases were listed from the archives of the Department of Medical Information, the Specialized Unit for Abused Children and Forensic Department at the Rennes University Hospital. We were able to look the judicial cases up after receiving agreement from the prosecutors of the two courts. RESULTS: Of the 34 cases included, 12 could not be used (lost, ongoing, destroyed, transferred to another court), 16 led to an order of dismissal or to no further action because of an unknown perpetrator, insufficiently described offense, or insufficient evidence. Six authors were sentenced. It was the father (n=5) or the childminder (n=1). All perpetrators had confessed to part or all of the charges brought against them. Five children received compensation: three by the civil court and two by the commission of compensation for victims of an offense. CONCLUSION: Most cases led to no conviction and no compensation. The identification by the physician of the person responsible for the lesions in SBS does not mean that the perpetrator will be convicted because of the strict application of criminal law. The nomination of an administrator representing the infant could resolve the lack of compensation. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Arch Pediatr
and referenced in Clinical Pediatrics: Open Access