Saturday 25 March 2017

Baby didn't have shake injuries, US expert tells trial

Accused: Sandra Higgins
Accused: Sandra Higgins

Declan Brennan

A US radiologist has told the trial of a childminder accused of assaulting a baby that bleeding around the child's brain does not point to a diagnosis of baby shaking.

Childminder Sandra Higgins (34) is alleged to have caused the injuries to the 10-month-old baby she was minding at her home.

Ms Higgins (34), of The Beeches, Drumgola Wood, in Cavan town, has pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to intentionally or recklessly causing serious harm to the baby on March 28, 2012.

Dr Julie Mack, who specialises in paediatric radiology, yesterday gave evidence for the defence by video-link from the US.

She said bleeding on brain scans was too small to represent the rupture blood vessels associated with baby shaking. She said that the bleeding did not indicate a massive rupture of a large vessel.

"These are the veins thought to be ruptured when you shake a baby and in this case there is simply not enough blood for a large vessel tear," Dr Mack said.

She said that she had not read the medical report from Dr Alan Finan, the consultant paediatrician who treated the infant. She said she was unaware the child had bruising on both sides of her forehead.

The prosecution put it to her that she was suggesting it was "an irrelevance that the child had bruises on both sides of her head".

Dr Mack replied: "It doesn't affect the way I can help the court. My job is to help the court understand the imaging."

The trial continues before Judge Patricia Ryan.

Irish Independent

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