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shaken baby syndrome, child abuse, Connecticut Criminal Defense AttorneyOver the last two decades, the phrase “shaken baby syndrome” has entered the modern medical lexicon as a way of describing head injuries sustained by an infant, presumably as the result of physical abuse. Allegations of abuse are usually focused on the child’s parents or caregivers, and, in most cases, it would seem that the symptoms could not possibly have been the result of anything else. A growing number of medical professionals, however, including one whose testimony provided the cornerstone of a landmark shaken baby trial in 1997 are beginning to question the assumption that all such symptoms are the result of criminal abuse.

Abusive Head Trauma

While shaken baby syndrome has been a recognized diagnosis for a number of years, its colloquial-sounding name has been replaced by many professionals with the more clinical “abusive head trauma.” Its symptoms are usually threefold: swelling of the brain, bleeding on the surface of the brain, and bleeding behind the eyes. Known as the triad, these symptoms alone have been accepted as evidence of criminal abuse or violence, despite the lack of accompanying bruises, contusions, or broken bones.

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