Imagine it’s any other day; you’re at work, taking emails, and interacting with clients or co-workers. Everything seems normal, than you get a call from your wife telling you to rush to the hospital because something’s happened to your child. That’s the reality that Scott Juceam was faced with over eleven years ago.
Scott Juceam is an entrepreneur, and an advocate against Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS). In May 2006, Juceam’s life changed forever when his infant daughter, Hannah Rose Juceam, was pronounced dead after being left in the care of her nanny. The nanny admitted to shaking the child in an attempt to wake her, but this resulted in the death of Hannah Rose. The nanny would spend two years in custody for charges of murder and child abuse. However, despite the evidence and the 10-2 jury ruling in favor of guilty, the case eventually ended in a mistrial. In the 11 years since the tragic event, Juceam has dedicated his life to preventing SBS.
“It feels like yesterday, and it feels like 100 years ago,” said Juceam, when asked about his daughter’s passing. “There’s a learning lesson in a decade… I’ve learned how to take this terrible pain and try to share it in a way that is tempered right, where people will be inspired or motivated to do something.” As of today, Juceam has given more than 500 speeches to first responders, and other people who need to understand the pain that SBS brings.
“Before my daughter took her last breath, that is where I told her, I promise you that I will let the world know who you are, and I will do everything I can to stop Shaken Baby Syndrome from existing.”
The trail for Hannah Rose Juceam’s murderer ended in a mistrial due to the testimony of a false expert witness. In recent years, there have been several of these expert witnesses taking the stand in cases involving SBS, who question the validity of SBS diagnoses. Because of this, Scott also advocates that there be proper vetting performed on all expert witnesses involved in SBS trials.
Every year, more than 1,500 infants die from being violently shaken. Most of the time, babies are shaken by caregivers, family members, or people close to the family. Sometimes the shaking happens out of aggression towards the crying baby, and other times it happens by accident.
Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) — also commonly known as abusive head trauma (AHT) — is a severe and preventable form of child abuse which often results in traumatic brain injury, and in extreme cases can lead to death. Shaken Baby Syndrome occurs when a child (usually under the age of five) is forcibly shaken. Even if the shaking is done only for a few seconds, the resulting injuries are almost always severe, and life altering. Children who have been shaken often experience bleeding behind the eyes, and around the brain which can lead to a variety of disabilities.
Most survivors of SBS suffer from long term disabilities due to being shaken as a child, including: vision problems, physical disabilities, hearing loss, delayed learning, and many others. One in every four children who goes through this type of abuse perishes from their injuries.
Shaken Baby Syndrome and abusive head trauma happen most frequently when a parent or guardian becomes angry or frustrated with the child, and resort to shaking him or her. This most commonly happens to infants who are crying for long periods of time. When the child won’t stop crying, sometimes frustrated adults will shake the child in an effort to stop the crying. However, the actions committed in those few moments of anger can drastically change a child’s entire life.
Today, Scott Juceam continues to fight against Shaken Baby Syndrome, and against child abuse altogether.