prevent parents frm being falsely accused of shaken baby syndrome by more medical research
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Shaken Baby Syndrome is usually associated with angry parents who have lost their temper with their infant or young child. Shaken to the point the child has a life changing result like brain damage. In 2015, I was accused of this violent act against my beautiful baby girl Karma and I would like to tell my story. Not only to clear my name but also in hope that whoever is reading this will help with this cause, as so many people like me have been accused of this then later found to be innocent. Please read my story and sign my petition, things need to change. This situation I found myself in could happen to anyone…
I am a proud mother of three beautiful girls aged 14, 4 and 2. My girls are my world and my reason for waking up every day. This may be a cliché to some but when you have a history of being in the care system you try your ultimate best to provide everything for your children. From the day I gave birth to my eldest daughter aged 21, I swore to myself that my child and future children will never have the life I once had. After a 9-year gap of my first daughter I had my second then two years later I had my youngest named Karma. I have a common mental health condition but despite this my children always came first, I always managed well because my children had always kept me going no matter what life threw at me. My first two labours of children were of course hard but there were no complications when giving birth. However, with Karma there were some complications, so my labour had to be forced as my baby had her cord wrapped around her neck three times. The nurse who delivered her was a nice lady, but she was a student nurse and I do believe this later had a contributing factor to my daughter’s condition cerebral palsy.
Rewind to two years ago on the weekend of 28th November 2015.
Me and my two youngest girls had a nice day out visiting their dad and my eldest daughter was staying out for the weekend. We came home, and it was any normal day, I had fed my baby put her on the sofa because she was sleeping, and the middle child was playing with toys. While my middle daughter was playing with toys, I did odd bits of tidying and cleaning in the living room and then lastly, I went into the kitchen cleaned and prepared my chicken for the following days dinner. After doing that, I gave my middle child her bottle as at the time she was 2 ½ years old and Karma was only 6 weeks old. After giving her the bottle I did a little more cleaning and tidying in the house and then took my prescription medication. Once my daughter had finished her bottle I was trying to settle her to go to sleep as it had been a long day which ended up with all of us sleeping at the same time as my medication can leave me feeling a bit sleepy. I am not sure how long I was asleep for, 45 minutes to an hour at most. Once I woke, my middle child was also awake and kind of stood over Karma. I looked at the youngest and had noticed she had scratches on her face. Immediately after noticing this I told my middle daughter off and for punishment I took her upstairs to her room and put her in her cot, so she could understand that this behaviour is not nice and will not be tolerated. I came back downstairs checked over the baby again, but she seemed fine because she was fast asleep. I took a picture of the scratches and sent it to my friend to show her, I asked her what I should do as I was a bit shocked and didn’t really know what happened. My friend said its only a few scratches she would be fine. I kept a close eye on the baby that night as again, I didn’t know exactly what had happened and just wanted to be sure that she was okay. She woke for her bottle around 12pm, this time around when she woke I had noticed that one of her eyes had a little red mark. I assumed that her sister had caught the baby’s eye with her nail or something when she scratched her face. I didn’t think that a little red mark on her eye was anything to worry about as Karma wasn’t doing anything out of the ordinary. After her bottle, she went back to sleep again. Hours later I then fell asleep around 4am. That same morning Karma woke because she was ready for her 7am bottle, soon as she had woken that morning I knew something was wrong because her eyes were now blood shot. I didn’t think it was life threatening but I did immediately call 111 to ask for advice. At this point I did say to the NHS services I was in the kitchen because I was petrified I would be judged for falling asleep because of my medication. They called back around 3pm and told me to bring Karma to the hospital and go to the A&E department because of the redness in her eyes. I did what was advised and took her to the hospital. Once we were at the hospital Karma was awake and still alert, but they decided she would need to have a CT scan. Another doctor came to see me asked about my history if I had any mental health conditions etc. At that very moment I knew exactly what he was thinking of me and this was the start of my 2-year nightmare.
The CT scan showed Karma had a bleed on the brain, I was mortified and scared for my child’s welfare …I just wanted to be there for her and hoped she would pull through and be okay. The police were called they came and took me home and then checked my other children and then checked my home. At this point I knew the police and the doctors had already made up their mind in thinking I was responsible for my daughter’s injury. Mainly because I already had a criminal record and then on top of that my mental health. Going back…the police took me back to the hospital and the same doctor who asked about my history told me to leave my baby to go look after my other children. To which I replied that I would not be leaving my baby as she needs me most at this moment in time, it was clear to me he didn’t like that. Karma then got taken to the ICU and we stayed the night. This was when my nightmare began to unravel…
Monday came around and social services came to have a meeting about the event of my daughter’s head injury. Then they came and seen me, told me that I couldn’t stay with my baby. I told them they can not make me do anything when regarding my daughter as at that point there was no court order preventing me from caring or being around my daughter. The police then showed up and arrested me! In short, the police let me go after so long and of course I returned to the hospital because at that point all I cared about was my Karmas well-being. They could judge me all they wanted I just needed to know my beautiful Karma would be okay. Because I would not leave the hospital social services then took me to family court and had a court order put on all Three of my children. My eldest daughter and middle daughter were placed with my mum and then once Karma was able to leave hospital, she then went to stay with a friend of her fathers which didn’t end very well. Finally, family court started with a fact-finding hearing. The judge who had my case said they were sure I loved my girls but because of medical evidence he found I caused them injuries. Even though medical evidence is limited on shaken baby syndrome
Throughout all the months of social services having a care order on my three girls there were many problems. A social worker tried to have a forced adoption with my two youngest girls even to the point of trying to send them to a foreign country with their grandmother on their father’s side who they both have not met, care plans kept changing, they even started to try and call Karma another name. During all this my eldest daughter kept running away from care, with the result of the judge ordering she came back home to live with me for her own safety. After that social services seemed to lose their interest in her because they could not control her. This was not only problematic, but it proved to me this was social services intentions in the beginning to have my two youngest girls adopted. Because if I was such a danger to my kid’s, then why was my eldest girl able to come back home. Why did they not want to have my eldest girl adopted? In my opinion I feel its because my two youngest girls were still baby’s and easier to have adopted. Which is wrong and really proved to me it wasn’t about the safety or concern for my girls. It was some other desired reason unknown to me, otherwise my eldest would not be with me. I also feel it became personal vendetta for social services as any lies they tried to tell against me they would be confronted with the truth. One of the examples being social services tried to scare Karmas foster carer, by painting a picture of me being a gangster… saying things like I would come armed with weapons and that I was affiliated with gangs, in the hopes that Karmas foster carer would stop fostering her. I believe they did this because the foster carer worked with me and did what she could do within the guidelines as a foster parent to prevent the forced adoption. As she felt I was a good capable mother to my children.
During family court they could not come up with a solid picture of how Karma had sustained injuries...they had three opinions on how the injuries fit shaken baby syndrome. One of them being I shook Karma by grabbing her face I guess they come up with this scenario because of the scratches on her face, which I would like to add were far too small (2/3mm in size adult’s nails would be bigger). The second was throwing her with force and her landing on a soft surface and the third scenario was shaking her by her face against a soft surface. All three scenarios are medical opinions and not facts apart from the three opinions above there was not one piece of crucial evidence to suggest I committed this horrible crime. Usually there would be some other evidence to back these claims, like internet searches on phones, phone calls before dialling 111. There was nothing, because I did not do this to Karma. Despite this, in criminal court the jury came to the decision that I was guilty in less than two hours. Which I feel is no where near long enough, considering it had taken family court years to decide on fact finding.
I challenged every method they brought before the court but in their eyes, I was already guilty from the moment I brought Karma to hospital. I have no doubt in thinking they felt I was able to do this because of my mental health which is discriminative as statistics say that 1 in every 4 adults will have experienced a common mental health disorder each year. I am sure some people who have come across my petition have had a mental health problem…if it be anxiety or depression. Does that mean you could can harm your child in such a violent way? Secondly, my criminal record was also another contributing factor as to why they felt I could harm karma…again shop lifting, taking drugs a drunken fight etc those are all common criminal acts, it doesn’t mean to say a person can do such a disgusting violent act to a defenceless baby. My character shouldn’t be defined by a criminal record or mental health condition as there are so many other parents out there with one of both of those things. Myself and my children have been let down by the system. Instead of helping our family, they have tore us apart.
My final point…
There have been many parents like me who have been wrongly convicted of harming or even killing their children through Shaken Baby Syndrome. Some have had their conviction quashed some are still behind bars up until this very point. I am not saying in any-way that shaken baby syndrome is untrue, what I will say is there are many underlying reasons as to why medical professionals shouldn’t be so quick to diagnose a bleed on the brain to be SBS. I have read some cases of children falling on to hard surfaces that had bleeds on the brain with the outcome of the parents being accused of shaking their baby. I have also read a story on a young couple who were wrongly convicted of shaken baby syndrome to later find out that their child had rickets. My point being, not every bleed on a baby’s brain is by being shook violently! I still do not know exactly what happened to Karma up until this day…the only thing I can think of is her two-year-old sister had picked her up, couldn’t manage the weight of karma and harshly put her down. I’m not sure if Cerebral Palsy can have an impact on her brain health. The scratches could have been a hit from her sister and then other times I think maybe the cord that was wrapped around her neck when she was born made her bleed on the brain? And a small tap of even harshly placed on a soft surface could have made her bleed more? I don’t know if any of these things had a dominating factor as to why Karma had a bleed on the brain. One thing for sure is, there needs to be more medical evidence in this field. Despite having cerebral palsy, Karma is thriving she is a happy and healthy toddler.
I am awaiting sentencing in less than two weeks for a crime I didn’t commit. It breaks my heart that I have done everything I possibly can to prove my innocence.
Finally, why you should sign my petition.
1) I am asking the public to sign my petition to change the way Shaken Baby Syndrome is presented at court to a jury as many jury services are not medical professionals. Because they are not medical professionals they take the medical opinions to be factual.
2) The government should set money aside for more research to be conducted into the Shaken Baby Syndrome theory. This theory was first introduced in 1987 through the autopsy of 13 babies. Since the 80s we are far more advanced with understanding baby’s brains.
3) Further research into Dr Geddes and Dr Squier theory on Shaken baby syndrome. As so far, they are the only medical professionals to challenge the shaken baby syndrome.
Please sign my petition. If you are in disbelief, then if not for my sake for our children and future children’s sake. An accident can quite easily manifest to being accused of shaken baby syndrome, especially if your child has a head injury. Please stand with me as together we can make change.
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