Lawyer sues docs over shaken-baby diagnosis, state for taking away her kids
A lawyer in Toledo, Ohio, claims in a lawsuit that doctors wrongly diagnosed her daughter with shaken baby syndrome, and the state removed both daughters from her care without justification.
Lawyer Molly Blythe of Holland, Ohio, filed the suit (PDF) on Jan. 15, the Toledo Blade reports. The suit claims a violation of Blythe’s 14th Amendment liberty interest in making decisions regarding her children and a violation of her daughters’ First Amendment right to familial association.
The suit says Blythe’s twin daughters were born five weeks prematurely in November 2013. One twin, “KB,” was suctioned out of the birth canal with a vacuum extractor, though the instrument should not be used on premature infants because of the risk of intracranial injury, the suit claims.
Blythe frequently took KB to her pediatrician because of concerns about her development, the suit says. A doctor ordered a cranial ultrasound, and KB was admitted to the hospital, where surgery was performed to drain fluid from the skull. The findings were consistent with injury during birth, yet an inexperienced medical resident and a supervising doctor concluded KB’s injuries weren’t accidental. Another doctor concluded KB was a shaken baby and reported the findings to Lucas County Children’s Services, according to the suit.
The children’s services agency obtained a court order placing the twins with Blythe’s sister. Blythe found six experts who disagreed with the shaken-baby diagnosis, include a pediatric neurosurgeon who is considered the “father” of shaken baby syndrome.
Lucas County Children’s Services agreed to dismiss its abuse complaint against Blythe in exchange for an agreement to grant the maternal grandmother custody of the twins. Blythe agreed, as she and her family “had already endured a living nightmare for nearly nine months, and Molly could not fathom living it all over again,” the suit says.
The suit seeks unspecified punitive and compensatory damages.
ABA Journal (2011): ‘Unsettling Science: Experts Are Still Debating Whether Shaken Baby Syndrome Exists”