2 Month Old Hospitalized After Being Shaken

A 2-month-old boy remains hospitalized after suffering shaken baby syndrome earlier this week.

According to the infant’s mother, Melissa McCloy, Sabastian continues to have seizures, and an MRI Thursday showed substantial brain damage which cannot be assessed at this time.

The infant’s father, 45-year-old Cristofer “Shane” Wethy, was taken into custody Thursday and charged with child endangerment, as a result of Sebastian’s injuries.

According to a press release from the Coshocton County Sheriff’s office, Coshocton County Job and Family Services contacted the sheriff’s office on Oct. 11, in reference to a 2-month-old child that was admitted to Nationwide Children’s Hospital showing signs of internal head trauma.

Detectives began an investigation in relation to a possible assault on the infant.

Following the initial investigation formal charges were filed against Wethy. Additional charges are possible once the prosecutor reviews the entire case.

McCloy said Sabastian’s team of physicians are still trying to figure out the correct combination of medication to give him to stop the cluster seizures.

“He is on some very strong sedation medicines so this morning they brought up a ventilator because (one of the medication’s he is currently on) in large doses can cause respiratory distress but it is working,” McCloy said in an email to the Tribune Friday morning. 

He has a long road ahead of him and despite medical insurance through her job, McCloy is struggling to pay the day-to-day expenses, particularly as she is off work to be at the hospital.

A GofundMe account has been set up by the mother’s family to help with expenses incurred during the infant’s recovery. 

This article was originally published by Coshoctontribune


Scott Juceam is one of the leading advocates against Shaken Baby Syndrome. Scott’s life changed when his daughter Hannah was shaken to death by her nanny in 2006. Since then, Scott has dedicated his life to preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome and child abuse.

To learn more about me, please visit my website at www.ScottJuceam.com or you can click here.

Day-care Operator Convicted In Shaken-Baby Case

Pallavi Macharla faced a Middlesex Superior Court judge Friday and wept as she asserted her innocence and also mourned for Ridhima Dhekane, the 6-month-old girl who died in her care.

“I love Ridhima so much. Dearly. As I love my daughter,” Macharla said in a trembling voice before a packed courtroom of supporters and relatives of both the defendant and the child. “I did not cause any harm to her.”

Macharla, 45, was sentenced to up to four years in prison for the death of Ridhima, who prosecutors said Macharla shook so violently while she was caring for the child in March 2015 that the baby’s brain began to bleed.

Macharla had been sentenced in May to life in prison after a jury convicted her of second-degree murder. In August, Judge Kenneth Fishman reduced the verdict to involuntary manslaughter.

Prosecutors had called for 10 to 15 years imprisonment. Macharla’s lawyers pleaded with Fishman on Friday to release her from MCI-Cedar Junction in Framingham and sentence her to time served and probation.

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Fishman ruled that a “sentence of incarceration is necessary to reflect the serious nature of this offense to promote respect for the law and provide just punishment for the offense.”

The case was the latest one to test the long-accepted theory of shaken baby syndrome, which has divided the medical community as a growing number of doctors express skepticism that shaking a baby alone can cause the kind of bleeding and brain swelling that has led to criminal prosecutions. Middlesex prosecutors have seen other murder cases fall apart after specialists disputed evidence of shaken baby syndrome.

Fishman reduced the conviction in large part because of the conflicting evidence presented during the four-week trial, which he said made a conviction of second-degree murder unjust.

The trial featured an array of doctors and biomechanical engineers who presented contradictory theories on what could have happened to Ridhima. The infant was one of many children Macharla cared for in the basement of her Burlington home, where she operated a day care center that prosecutors said was illegal.

Ridhima’s parents, Umesh Dhekane and his wife, Jyoti Shinde, came to the sentencing Friday holding their youngest daughter, who was born two years after Ridhima’s death. The child giggled and squirmed out of their arms during the long hearing. The couple, who also have a 14-year-old daughter, declined to make an impact statement and left the courtroom without speaking to reporters.

Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan declined comment. A spokeswoman referred to the prosecution’s sentencing memorandum, which argued that although the exact “mechanism, act, or combination of acts” that led to Ridhima’s injuries were unknown, “the only reasonable inference is that the defendant inflicted the extraordinary, catastrophic injuries that caused Ridhima’s death.”

“The defendant committed acts of violence upon a vulnerable, helpless, and dependent 6-month-old who had been entrusted to her care,” prosecutors wrote.

The sentence dismayed Macharla’s friends and relatives, who traveled to the courthouse from Burlington, where Macharla lived with her husband, 12-year-old daughter, and 9-year-old son.

They packed the courtroom, which fits about 200 people, and sat behind Macharla’s husband and her children.

Macharla is “good and innocent,” Lincoln Amere, a family friend and father of three, told reporters after the hearing. “She doesn’t deserve to be in a jail. Prosecutors are trying to punish the innocent in the name of protecting the children.”

The sentence means that Macharla, an Indian immigrant who trained as a doctor in her native country, will have a conviction for an aggravated felony, which means mandatory deportation, said her lawyer, J.W. Carney Jr. A sentence of less than a year would have avoided that status and improved her chances of staying in the country.

Carney said Macharla was “heartbroken” at the prospect of deportation, and that he would appeal the conviction. The appeal, he said, is likely to be based on the science around the theory of shaken baby syndrome and what he called the judge’s failure to tell the jury that Macharla’s decision not to call 911 could not be considered a basis for conviction.

Macharla testified during the trial that on that March morning, Ridhima seemed unusually tired and napped longer than normal. She said when Ridhima woke up, she fed the baby applesauce.

Ridhima then started vomiting and choking and fell unconscious. Macharla said she tried resuscitating the child and called the baby’s mother, but did not call 911, which prosecutors said showed Macharla was “buying herself time.”

Bhalinder Singh, who attended the sentencing on Friday and described himself as a friend of both families, said in India there is no 911 system. “If something bad happens, you call the parent,” Singh said. “Pavalli is a doctor by trade, very nice, very gentle. She cannot do anything bad.”

Before she was taken back into custody, Macharla told Fishman she has been in “mourning” since the child’s death.

“I can understand the pain of her parents,” Macharla said. “I’ve been praying for them.”

This article was originally published by BostonGlobe.com


Scott Juceam is one of the leading advocates against Shaken Baby Syndrome. Scott’s life changed when his daughter Hannah was shaken to death by her nanny in 2006. Since then, Scott has dedicated his life to preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome and child abuse.

To learn more about me, please visit my website at www.ScottJuceam.com or you can click here.

Shaken Baby Syndrome In The UK

More than 220 infants in the UK were killed or injured as a result of being shaken in the past decade, analysis of NSPCC figures has found.

Serious case reviews were carried out on 1,253 children, with nearly one in six of those reports concluding the youngster had suffered a brain injury.

Child protection expert Dr Suzanne Smith said she believed that number was “the tip of the iceberg”.

She is heading a scheme in Yorkshire to help parents avoid losing control.

Dr Smith, a former safeguarding nurse in Leeds who has founded the programme, said: “I’ve seen the devastating impact of shaking babies in hospitals – where babies have died or suffered extremely severe disabilities and we need to do more to prevent it.”

Joanne Peacock’s son Charlie was left with cerebral palsy and blind after he was shaken by his father at their home in Huddersfield when he was 16 weeks old.

She said: “I came out of the shower to find Charlie grey, lifeless, not breathing, in his father’s arms with no explanation.

“We didn’t think he was even going to make it to the hospital.

“They told us to prepare for the worst, that his injuries were equivalent to a high speed car accident because he’d been shaken that violently.”

Her ex-partner Paul Sykes was jailed for four years in 2009 after admitting causing grievous bodily harm.

She said Charlie, now 12, had grown into a “fantastic boy” who brought joy to the family’s lives but that he had restricted movement and would need life-long care.

Mrs Peacock now helps raise awareness about the consequences of infant shaking.

“The most important thing for me out of what happened to Charlie is reducing the amount of babies this happens to,” she said.

BBC analysis found out of 1,253 serious case reviews published on the NSPCC’s website from 2008 to 2018, 229 of those cases involved a child being shaken – often referred to as shaken baby syndrome.

A serious case review would be triggered when a child had been abused or neglected, resulting in harm or death, and there was concern about the way an authority or person had safeguarded the child.

Because the government has not kept official figures on the number of cases of injury to babies through shaking, experts believed the rate was likely to be higher.

Research has shown crying to be the most likely trigger for shaken baby syndrome, a condition medically referred to as abusive head trauma (AHT).

Helen Westerman, national safeguarding lead at the NSPCC, said: “We don’t know the full scale of the problem.

“We know that many parents that do shake their baby don’t do it intentionally, are doing it in the spur of the moment when something has just broken or gone wrong, and most parents want to look like they’re coping.”

John McMullan, consultant paediatric neurosurgeon at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, said shaking a baby caused brain injuries similar to those in boxing.

But he said: “In boxing the incidences of the head blows are relatively infrequent and so that damage is taking place over, typically, years.

“Whereas with an infant shaking, the damage is occurring in seconds.”

Dr Smith’s campaign, called ICON: Babies Cry, You Can Cope, has already been offered by some health trusts across the country but will be introduced in York from November.

It is a programme of interventions and awareness delivered at various stages before and after a baby’s birth, aimed to help parents and carers cope with crying.

“Not a lot of parents realise that it’s normal for babies to increase their crying over their early life,” she said.

“They feel quite disempowered and guilty that they can’t stop it.”

Elaine Hanzak remembered how, on the day she lost control, in a “lightning flash” she changed from being happy to all of a sudden having an urge to harm her baby boy.

“I honestly felt I could quite easily smash his head against the wall, shake him, throw him over the banister. I just felt he had ruined my life,” she recalled.

At that point, Ms Hanzak had been diagnosed with post-natal depression and although she was receiving medication and support, she was still putting a “mask on” and pretending everything was fine.

She described how a “sliver of rational thought” kicked in and she put her baby safely back in his cot before walking away and seeking help.

Ms Hanzak said her traumatic childbirth, sleep deprivation and the guilt she felt at being depressed led her to the brink of despair.

“I was used to life with ticks in the boxes,” she said. “I had everything. A nice house, a nice husband, a good career.

“It was a real wake up call for me that the biggest thing I ever wanted in life, which was to be a mum, was ultimately appearing to be what could be my biggest downfall.”

Campaigner Dr Smith said: “We have a really good health service but that bit about crying often passes parents by and isn’t focused on by professionals.

“In America and Canada they have programmes that reduce the (level) of abusive head trauma, but here we weren’t doing anything and for me that needed to change.

“Our message is really simple. It’s about saying infant crying is normal, it will stop and it’s OK to walk away for a few minutes as long as your baby is safe.”

If you or someone you know is struggling with issues raised by this story, support can be found through BBC Action Line.

This article was originally published by the BBC.com


Scott Juceam is one of the leading advocates against Shaken Baby Syndrome. Scott’s life changed when his daughter Hannah was shaken to death by her nanny in 2006. Since then, Scott has dedicated his life to preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome and child abuse.

To learn more about me, please visit my website at www.ScottJuceam.com or you can click here.