– now Rioch Edwards-Brown’s a fighter for justice
Cradling her baby son, TV researcher Rioch Edwards-Brown stared in disbelief at the two social workers standing before her in the hospital room. Their lips were moving but she could barely make sense of what they were saying.
It was a moment that would fill any loving parent with horror. Rioch had just been told her six-month-old son Riordan — the baby she and her husband Ian had longed for — would be removed from her care in three days’ time.
Paralysed with shock, all she could focus on was the tiny bundle curled up against her chest and the voice inside her head telling her to breathe.
The memories of that Friday afternoon are as sharp today as they were 16 years ago.
‘For a split-second I couldn’t remember how to breathe,’ says the 46-year-old mother-of-four. ‘I couldn’t even tell you my name.’
Rioch and Ian found themselves thrust into a nightmare after a doctor decided their son’s ill health from birth — culminating in an unexplained fit — was caused by shaken baby syndrome. In other words, the caring parents were suspected of shaking Riordan until his brain bled.
The suspicions were unjustified. Medical notes would later back up the fact Riordan had suffered a brain bleed during his premature birth, but by that time child protection proceedings had started — and seemed unstoppable. There were three court hearings and Rioch and Ian fought for nearly a decade to clear their names.
Today, that tiny fragile baby is a strapping young man who loves sport and is studying for A-levels after gaining 12 GCSEs. As for Rioch, she gave up her job working alongside her TV producer husband and started helping other parents facing similar ordeals.
For 15 years, without pay or outside funding, she has run The Five Percenters, a support group that takes its name from the fact that one in 20 cases of shaken baby syndrome is misdiagnosed. From a desk in the living room of her family home in New Cross, South-East London, Rioch, runs the 24-hour free advisory service.
Rioch and Ian’s fight for justice cost £50,000, but since then they have remortgaged their home and spent £250,000 funding the support group in the hope that other parents accused of shaking their babies or other abuse are spared the agony they faced.
Rioch — who also battled a benign brain tumour in 2009 — never imagined the nightmare ahead when she met Ian in 1990.
Their early hopes for children were cruelly crushed when she suffered a series of miscarriages caused by a cervical condition which doctors cured. She went on to have Riordan in 1995. He was born six weeks early, weighing 6lb 3oz.
The couple were delighted, although Rioch soon doubted his health. ‘He’d cry then suddenly stop,’ she said. ‘He looked beaten up, like he’d gone 10 rounds with Mike Tyson.’
Over the following months Riordan’s fragile health meant frequent tests.
‘Eventually, a doctor said he had suffered a brain bleed commonly associated with premature babies,’ recalls Rioch. ‘As we were leaving she said, “You haven’t ever dropped him have you?” I laughed and said, “No.” ’
But Rioch had a niggling doubt something more serious was wrong.
A week later, Riordan suffered a fit and ended up back at King’s College Hospital, London.
Days of tests and questions followed. ‘When the consultant told us Riordan had suffered the sort of bleed they would expect to see in a child with a lot of trauma I just couldn’t take in.
‘Ian said, “Do you mean like a boxer’s punch?”
She replied, “Yes, or Riordan being shaken and swung around by the ankles against a hard surface.”
‘I was told that if I made any attempt to leave the ward the police would be called.’
Rioch suddenly realised the finger of suspicion was pointing at her and Ian — and they were devastated when two social workers revealed they would apply to take Riordan into care within days.
Reeling with shock, they sought legal help and were able to keep Riordan. Three months later, with clear medical evidence pointing to injuries caused by birth trauma rather than abuse, a High Court judge threw out their case.
However, it took eight years before the shaken baby accusation was removed from council and hospital records.
Rioch and Ian went on to have three more children, but were terrified each time one fell sick, fearful they could be accused again.
‘I couldn’t afford for Riordan to get as much as a bruise,’ she says.
‘It was after I did a television interview and 40 families got in touch that I thought about starting the Five Percenters. I found myself wondering how a family without the support and contacts we had would ever stand up against this?’
Over the past 15 years Rioch has helped more than 4,000 families worldwide facing a similar ordeal. ‘Of course, it is disgusting that genuine abuse exists,’ she adds.
‘There will always be people who say they are innocent and are not. But I feel we have a duty to people like us who are wrongly accused. We were told we were a “one-off”, a mistake. But if they can make a mistake once, they can do it again.’
Rioch’s vision, called 24:14, is for a nationwide hospital protocol ensuring all children suspected of being abuse victims are seen by paediatric specialists within 24 hours of admission and for the case to be reviewed within 14 days — sparing the agony of misdiagnosis and cases slipping through the net.
‘Doctors said Riordan wouldn’t walk, talk or swallow,’ she says. ‘But he is now built like a rugby player, eats me out of house and home and never stops talking. He’s amazing.
‘When people say to me, “Why do you do what you do?” I tell them that I have my kids when the majority of families who come to me don’t. I consider myself very fortunate.’
By Mark Hansen
Is Audrey Edmunds an otherwise kind and caring wife, mother and neighborhood child care provider who snapped into a homicidal rage one day under the stress of caring for a sick baby?
Or is she an innocent woman who spent 11 years behind bars for a horrific crime she not only didn’t commit, but that may not have even been a crime?
You decide. We can’t. And neither, apparently, can the courts or the scientific community.
Fifteen years ago, Edmunds, then a 35-year-old stay-at-home mom, was convicted of reckless homicide in the 1995 shaking death of a neighbor couple’s infant daughter. She was sentenced to 18 years in prison.
In 2008, however, a Wisconsin appeals court granted her a new trial on the grounds that a shift in mainstream medical opinion as to the cause of the girl’s injuries now casts doubt on Edmunds’ guilt.
Prosecutors subsequently dismissed the case against Edmunds—not because they think she is innocent but to spare the victim’s parents the agony of having to revisit their daughter’s death.
Three years later, Edmunds’ culpability remains a hotly contested topic of conversation in criminal justice circles. And her case has reignited a fierce debate in the forensic community over the science behind what’s called shaken baby syndrome.
To be sure, the vast majority of doctors still regard it as a valid and reliable diagnosis, one whose scientific basis has been proven time and time again by decades of peer-reviewed research, clinical experience and caregiver confessions.
But a small and apparently growing number of forensic experts have begun to question many of the assumptions upon which the diagnosis rests—like whether shaking alone can produce the kind of traumatic head injuries attributed to SBS in the absence of other injuries, like a broken neck, or whether a child who has been shaken violently would immediately be rendered unconscious.
The decision marks the first time that an appeals court has questioned the scientific basis for a shaken baby conviction, and some hope the Wisconsin ruling will lead to a systematic court review of the evidence in other shaken baby cases, or even an independent examination of the underlying science by some neutral third party like the National Academy of Sciences.
Shaken baby syndrome is a term coined in the early 1970s to describe what adherents contend is a characteristic set of head injuries found in infants who have been subjected to violent shaking: swelling of the brain, bleeding around the brain and bleeding in the retinas.
The theory was first espoused by a pair of pediatric specialists as a possible cause of the otherwise unexplained head injuries sometimes seen in infants with no visible signs of physical abuse. It quickly took root in the medical community.
Before long, SBS became widely accepted as a clinical diagnosis for head injuries inflicted on small children. And a nationwide educational campaign to alert the public to the dangers of shaking was launched.
In fact, SBS is now so firmly ingrained in the public consciousness that the World Health Organization has a diagnostic classification for it; the American Board of Pediatrics offers a subspecialty in it; and last year, for the fifth year in a row, the U.S. Senate designated the third week in April as National Shaken Baby Syndrome Awareness Week.
To this day, there is widespread consensus among medical professionals that shaking a baby is dangerous and often lethal. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the National Association of Medical Examiners have all issued position papers embracing the theory, although the NAME paper, which was published despite failing peer review, was later withdrawn. The Centers for Dis ease Control and Prevention publishes SBS prevention guides for public health departments and community organizations. And several states, including Ohio, New York and Texas, require prospective parents and child care providers to learn about the perils of shaking.
An estimated 1,200 to 1,400 children are injured each year by shaking, about one-quarter of them fatally, according to the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome, a nonprofit organization offering SBS prevention and training programs. The actual number of victims may be much higher, it says, because many such cases are misdiagnosed or go undetected.
But a growing chorus of critics says the entire theory rests on an uncertain scientific footing that continues to erode under the weight of scientific scrutiny, raising the specter that hundreds if not thousands of innocent people—parents, grandparents, baby sitters, nannies, boy friends—have faced criminal charges and even been imprisoned in the past three decades for crimes they may not have committed.
No one apparently keeps count of shaken baby prosecutions, though some experts estimate that about 200 people a year are convicted of shaking-related offenses based on the number of reported appeals. While some of those cases include corroborating medical evidence of abuse, such as cuts, bruises, burns or broken bones, others do not. And though some of the accused have admitted their guilt, others have steadfastly maintained their innocence. So Edmunds’ case was, in many respects, a typical one.
Because she loved kids—by 1995 she had two of her own and was pregnant with a third—and wanted to help out her neighbors, Edmunds quit her secretarial job and started caring for a few children in her home in the Madison, Wis., area. One of her newest charges was 7-month-old Natalie Beard.
Natalie, by all accounts a fussy baby, was particularly irritable on the day in question, Edmunds recalls. She tried to get the girl to eat, but Natalie refused, so she placed her in a car seat in the master bedroom and propped a bottle of formula in her mouth while she got her oldest daughter ready for preschool. She checked on Natalie once and everything seemed fine. But when she went back a second time, the girl was limp and unresponsive. Natalie was airlifted to a nearby hospital, where she died later that night.
Nobody saw Edmunds shake Natalie. There were no external signs of injury on the girl’s body. And Edmunds swore up and down she hadn’t done anything to harm the baby. But the doctors who treated Natalie concluded that she died from brain trauma caused by a violent shaking or a shaking with impact, citing among other things severe brain and eye damage peculiar to shaking and evidence of an impact injury to the girl’s scalp.
Edmunds defended herself as best she could. Her lawyer, Stephen Hurley, couldn’t find any experts who didn’t think Natalie had been subjected to a violent shaking, though he found one doctor who thought the girl had been shaken before she was dropped off at Edmunds’ home that morning. And the lawyer concedes that Edmunds made a terrible witness while testifying in her own defense.
“She was like a deer in the headlights on cross-examination,” he says. “I think that really hurt her.”
An army of prosecution experts testified that Natalie exhibited all the telltale signs of a severe shaking. This was no accidental shaking either, they testified, but one that was the equivalent of a fall from a two- or three-story building, or a car crash at 25 to 30 mph. And Edmunds must have done it, they insisted, because Natalie’s injuries were so severe she would have lost consciousness as soon as she was shaken.
The prosecutors also depicted the defendant as some kind of Jekyll and Hyde figure who reacted violently under the pressure of caring for a sick baby while five months pregnant and in the process of moving. She was convicted and sentenced to 18 years in prison.
Keith Findley, a law professor and co-director of the Wisconsin Innocence Project, got involved in Edmunds’ case after realizing that the medical community could not agree on whether Natalie Beard’s injuries were caused by shaking alone or other factors were involved. Photo by James Schnepf.
Edmunds’ first appeal, in 1999, went nowhere. But her luck changed in 2003 when the Wisconsin Innocence Project took an interest in her case.
The project’s co-director, Keith Findley, who teaches law at the University of Wisconsin, doesn’t remember exactly how he got involved in the case, but he does recall that both Edmunds’ trial and appellate lawyers had been deeply troubled by her conviction and were convinced of her innocence.
Findley knew very little about the subject at the time, other than what he had read about the 1997 Boston trial of British au pair Louise Woodward in the apparent shaking death of 8-month-old Matthew Eappen, the first high-profile courtroom battle over a shaken baby diagnosis. (A jury ultimately convicted Woodward of second-degree murder, but the judge reduced her conviction to involuntary manslaughter and sentenced her to time served.)
But Findley soon realized there were already raging debates in the medical community about whether shaking alone could produce the head injuries Natalie Beard suffered; whether such injuries could be due to other causes, both natural and inflicted; and whether a child with the kind of injuries Natalie had could remain lucid for hours or even days before dying or becoming noticeably impaired.
Then he discovered that one of the state’s key witnesses—Robert Huntington III, the pathologist who had done the autopsy on Natalie—had written a letter in a medical journal contradicting his testimony in the case against Edmunds.
Huntington had testified at Edmunds’ trial that it was “highly probable” Natalie’s injuries were sustained while she was in Edmunds’ care. But in his letter he wrote about a 1999 case he observed in which a child with head injuries similar to Natalie’s remained lucid in a hospital for more than 15 hours before she died.
When Findley contacted Huntington and told him why he was calling, Findley says, Huntington replied, “Oh, Audrey Edmunds. What are we going to do about that?”
Armed with that information, the defense prepared a motion for a new trial on the grounds that medical research developed in the decade since her 1996 trial constituted new evidence establishing a reasonable probability that a different result would be reached the second time around.
At a hearing on that motion, Huntington testified that he was no longer sure that Natalie had been shaken or that her injuries had been inflicted while she was in Edmunds’ care. Other defense experts testified that research advances in the previous 10 years had undermined the scientific basis for SBS and legitimized the views of critics once regarded as being on the fringe.
Prosecutors, however, contended that the case against Edmunds was even stronger than it had been in 1996, saying the intervening years of study and research had only reaffirmed the cause and timing of Natalie’s death. They argued that none of the six defense experts who testified on Edmunds’ behalf could provide an alternative explanation for Natalie’s injuries. They said the evidence the defense cited as new—whether shaking alone can cause such injuries and whether a child with such injuries could experience a lucid interval—had been the subject of an ongoing debate in the medical community that began long before her first trial. And they claimed it didn’t matter whether shaking alone can produce the kinds of injuries Natalie sustained because the state had also produced evidence of an impact injury to her scalp.
A Texas Child Protective Services specialist poses with a doll used for educating about the danger of shaken baby syndrome. Photo by Tyler Morning Telegraph, David Branch.
The trial court judge found that both sides had presented credible evidence. But he denied the defendant’s motion on the grounds that the state’s evidence was more persuasive.
However, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals reversed, saying that a “significant and legitimate debate” had developed in the medical community in the previous 10 years as to whether babies can be fatally injured through shaking alone, whether a baby with a traumatic head injury can experience a significant lucid interval prior to death, and whether other causes may mimic the symptoms traditionally associated with shaken baby syndrome. And those are issues for a jury, not a judge, to decide, the court said.
“The newly discovered evidence in this case shows that there has been a shift in mainstream medical opinion since the time of Edmunds’ trial as to the causes of the types of trauma Natalie exhibited,” the court wrote, noting that the debate reflects “a fierce disagreement between forensic pathologists who now question whether the symptoms Natalie displayed indicate intentional head trauma, and pediatricians who largely adhere to the science as presented at Edmunds’ trial.”
The decision prompted DePaul University law professor Deborah Tuerkheimer, a former child abuse prosecutor in Manhattan, to take a closer look at the science underlying the syndrome—which she, to put it mildly, found wanting.
Tuerkheimer published her findings in a 2009 Washington University Law Review article called “The Next Innocence Project: Shaken Baby Syndrome and the Criminal Courts.” She concluded that scientific advances in the past two decades have cast doubt on an entire category of SBS defendants—namely those convicted of shaking-related crimes based solely on the three key symptoms known as the “diagnostic triad.”
“While we cannot know how many convictions are ‘unsafe’ without systematic case review, a comparison of the problematic category of SBS convictions to DNA —and other mass exonerations—reveals that this injustice is commensurate with any seen in the criminal justice arena to date,” she wrote.
With the publication of Tuerkheimer’s article, an already divided scientific community appears to have become even more polarized.
Defenders of the SBS diagnosis complain that she leaves the impression that thousands of innocent people are sitting in prison due to a flawed scientific diagnosis. But critics of the SBS diagnosis, already galvanized by their legal victory in Edmunds’ case, view Tuerkheimer’s analysis as vindication of their complaint: That the research basis for shaken baby syndrome was flawed from the start.
The origins of SBS date back to 1968, when a prominent neurosurgeon conducted an experiment on rhesus monkeys to see whether brain and neck injuries would result from the whiplash forces of a simulated 40 mph rear-end car crash. The monkeys were strapped into a sled mounted on a 20-foot-long track, leaving their heads free to rotate, and the sled was struck from behind with a mechanical piston.
About a third of the monkeys suffered cerebral hemorrhages. Eleven of them also suffered injuries to the brain stem or cervical cord.
The experiment had nothing to do with babies or shaking. But in the early 1970s, two pediatric specialists, writing separately, pointed to the results as evidence for the proposition that a violent shaking with out impact, which one of them dubbed “the whip-lash shaken infant syndrome,” could cause permanent brain damage and mental retardation in infants and small children.
Ever since, critics say, the mainstream medical community has held to the belief that the presence of subdural bleeding, retinal hemorrhages and brain swelling in a child with no other injuries suggestive of an accident or abuse must have been shaken. And that the person with the child when he or she lost consciousness must have done it.
But those beliefs have been steadily undermined by subsequent research showing just the opposite, critics say.
The first big blow to conventional SBS wisdom was struck in 1987. That’s when a neurosurgery resident at the University of Pennsylvania, working with a group of biomechanical engineering students, devised an experiment designed to compare the forces generated by a violent shaking with established injury thresholds. To do so, they created models of 1-month-old babies equipped with sensors to measure acceleration, which were then shaken and slammed against both padded and unpadded surfaces.
Researchers found they couldn’t shake the dummies hard enough to generate the kind of force known to cause even a mild concussion. In fact, the most force they could muster was about one-fiftieth the amount of force generated by dropping the dummies onto a padded surface.
Another big blow to mainstream medical opinion on the subject came in 1998, when a forensic pathologist at East Carolina University School of Medicine studied the interval between injury and the onset of symptoms in 76 alleged child-abuse head injury deaths. In one-quarter of the cases, the interval was more than 24 hours; and, in four cases, it was more than 72 hours, apparently contradicting the conventional belief that a child with traumatic head injuries would be immediately symptomatic.
Further research in the past decade or so has shown that there are many other causes of the three key symptoms associated with SBS, including: short-distance falls, congenital malformations, genetic and metabolic disorders, various forms of childhood strokes, accidental injuries, infectious diseases, poisons, medical and surgical complications, and autoimmune conditions. And the list, now two pages long, continues to grow.
Some critics question the very existence of shaken baby syndrome. “There’s no such thing,” says retired forensic pathologist John Plunkett of Welch, Minn., an early critic of the diagnosis who has gone on to became a leading defense expert in shaken baby cases. “It doesn’t exist.”
Thomas L. Bohan, a lawyer and physicist who is a past president of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, says he doesn’t know of a single physicist or biomechanical engineer who supports what he calls “this cockamamie notion” of shaken baby syndrome.
“It’s not something I can disprove,” he says, “but I can say that there’s no evidence to support it, and that every attempt to prove it has failed.”
In 2009, during his year as academy president, Bohan convened a blue-ribbon panel to review four areas of forensic science about which serious questions have been raised, including SBS.
The panel called for an independent investigation of the science behind the theory, to be undertaken by a qualified scientific organization amenable to both sides, which it said was “particularly crucial,” given the number of respected doctors on each side of the issue and the number of people who are sentenced to long prison terms each year for shaking-related offenses.
Another critic, Cyril Wecht, a lawyer and former Allegheny County, Pa., coroner, wouldn’t go so far as to suggest that SBS doesn’t exist. But he believes it’s one of the most overdiagnosed and misunderstood concepts in forensic science.
So much so that he wouldn’t want his four children or 11 grandchildren to baby-sit someone else’s kids.
British au pair Louise Woodward sits with her attorney, Barry Scheck, during prosecution testimony in 1997. Woodward was accused in the alleged extreme-force-injury death of infant Matthew Eappen. Photo by AP/Bizuayehu Tesfaye.
“When you come into a hospital emergency room in America today with an injured child, it’s automatically assumed you’re responsible for whatever happened until you prove otherwise,” he says.
Yet defenders insist that the scientific basis for SBS is not only sound but getting stronger every day.
Dr. Robert Block, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, says there are now decades of ever-accumulating research, clinical observations, individual case reports and other data showing that babies can be injured through shaking, impact or a combination of the two.
Critics “say you can’t shake a baby hard enough to hurt it,” he says, “which they themselves would never do because they know damn well they’d end up with a dead baby or one with significant neurological injuries if they did.”
Block and other defenders say the only controversy over SBS in the medical community is the one that has been created out of whole cloth by a small group of defense-oriented experts who ignore the known science, discount the clinical experience of doctors who treat injured kids every day, and excuse the voluminous confessional literature in an effort to sow confusion and create doubt. They call them denialists.
Denialists, to these SBS defenders, typically use rhetoric to give an appearance of legitimate and unresolved debate about matters long considered to be settled by the medical or scientific communities. Or they are simply inflexible, like those who insist—despite all evidence to the contrary—that childhood vaccinations can be linked to autism and mental retardation.
Dr. Alex Levin, a pediatric ophthalmologist in Phila delphia who studies the eye manifestations of child abuse, says the only real way to find out whether SBS exists is to shake a baby and see what happens. But short of that, all available evidence—computer models; animal models; studies of children with diseases that mimic some of the symptoms of shaking; perpetrator confessions; and child abuse victims, both living and dead—shows that babies do get injured and die at the hands of otherwise well-meaning and loving caretakers who momentarily lose their temper.
“Shaken baby syndrome is real,” he says.
Levin, who testified for the state in Edmunds’ appeal, was reluctant to discuss his testimony without reviewing his notes. But prosecutors say he testified that Natalie sustained a type of severe retinal damage that indicates either a violent shaking or a crushing injury, about which there had been no evidence.
SBS defenders also say the so-called triad of symptoms—as often described by critics—are never the sole basis for a shaken baby prosecution but only the starting point in a diagnostic process. That process includes the medical findings, X-rays, the baby’s prior medical history, law enforcement and child welfare reports, interviews with the caregiver, and various tests to rule out other possible causes of the child’s condition before a final diagnosis is made.
“The medical findings are not presented in a vacuum,” says Leigh Bishop, a senior trial attorney in the special victims bureau of the Queens County, N.Y., district attorney’s office. “Juries base their decisions on all of the facts and circumstances of a case, not on some far-fetched defense claim that a short fall, a vaccine, meningitis, the West Nile virus or CPR may have caused the child’s injuries.”
Defenders concede that there are other potential causes for each of the symptoms associated with SBS, but say there is nothing else that mimics the symptoms in all of its manifestations. And while they acknowledge that people with certain types of brain injuries may experience a lucid interval before the onset of symptoms, they say that’s not the case in babies with the kind of injuries characteristic of a violent shaking.
“It’s like pulling a plug out of the wall,” Bishop says. “Once the plug is pulled, the lights are off.”
SBS defenders also discount the significance of the decision in Edmunds’ case.
“It’s one opinion by one court,” says Randell Alexander, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Florida in Jacksonville and director of the state’s child protection team. “There are plenty of other courts that see it differently.”
Moreover, they suggest that the legal system facilitates irresponsible expert testimony, which they claim was the case in Edmunds’ appeal. They argue that the Wisconsin court allowed the defense great leeway: setting a low bar for the qualification of expert witnesses; allowing experts to offer opinions without stating a basis; and permitting experts to rely on inadmissible evidence, including hearsay.
And both sides say the courts often seem ill-equipped to exercise control over the admissibility of complex medical evidence.
“Legitimate controversy exists in some areas of the medical research, and reasonable medical opinions may differ over select issues,” says Brian Holmgren, a veteran child abuse prosecutor in Nashville, Tenn., who teaches other prosecutors how to handle such cases. “But seldom do these controversies reach the core science of shaken baby syndrome or attack the legitimacy of the medical criteria used to diagnose this form of child abuse.”
In the wake of the decision in Edmunds’ case, a few other courts have followed suit. But those cases are the rare exceptions. Most shaken baby convictions have not been revisited. And new cases are being prosecuted every day.
That’s why critics of SBS are calling for an objective review of the evidence on both sides, to be conducted by a credible scientific organization like the National Academy of Sciences, which published a comprehensive report on the state of forensic science in the U.S. in 2009.
Such a study is not without precedent. In 2005, Great Britain’s attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, ordered a review of 88 shaken baby cases after an appeals court had ruled that triad-only cases “cannot automatically or necessarily” lead to the conclusion that an infant has been shaken. The review identified three convictions that warranted revisiting, in addition to nine others that had previously been identified as suspect.
And in 2007, the Canadian province of Ontario convened an inquiry into 48 shaken baby convictions. The vast majority of those convictions, 44 of them, were found to be of no concern. The remaining four have been referred to the attorney general for further possible action.
Many SBS defenders say they would welcome such a study. But some suggest it would be a complete waste of time.
“To do such a study suggests there’s an issue to be dealt with,” Alexander says. “And I don’t think there are any issues to be dealt with.”
Meanwhile, Edmunds, now 50, maintains her innocence. She says she would never do anything to hurt a child. And she can’t believe that anybody could think she would.
Assistant District Attorney Shelly Rusch says all the evidence in Natalie’s death indicates a violent shaking or other “high-energy traumatic event.” Photo by James Schnepf.
“I’m not the monster they made me out to be,” she says.
Edmunds, whose husband divorced her while she was in prison, moved to the Minneapolis area after her release, where she rents a room in a friend’s house and works in a convenience store until something better comes along.
Though she’s still angry about what happened to her, she’s determined not to be bitter.
“Bitterness will destroy you,” she says.
But Dane County Assistant District Attorney Shelly Rusch—who represented the state in Edmunds’ appeal —still believes that, in a fit of rage, Edmunds killed Natalie.
Rusch says that all of the medical evidence points to either a violent shaking or some other “high-energy traumatic event” like a car crash, which didn’t happen.
“Babies don’t just die for no reason,” she says.
By: Tana Fye
When I was a law clerk, the year after I graduated from law school, I had the opportunity to watch two separate criminal trials where the issue was shaken baby syndrome. In one trial, the defendant was convicted; in the other, the defendant was acquitted. In both cases, the prosecution and defense both presented the testimony of expert witnesses on this very topic. Needless to say, it was extremely interesting to watch and learn about. However, it made very clear to me that the diagnoses of shaken baby syndrome is far from a medical certainty. There are many variables that go into whether shaken baby syndrome is present in the particular child. But even more interesting (at least to me), is the question of whether shaken baby syndrome even exists, as well as whether shaking alone can cause injury or if an impact of the head is needed. I take no position on this, because frankly I lack the medical training to honestly evaluate it.
In the December 2011 issue of the ABA Journal, an American Bar Association publication, this very topic has been taken up. I urge you to read it and consider the issue for yourself. (The article is in the hard copy version of the ABA Journal, but hasn’t yet been posted on their website. Once it is, I’ll add the link.) The ABA Journal has also written about this topic before. This is a list of some of their other articles on the topic.
Author: Christina England
Reports are being written all over the UK and probably worldwide on patients and clients that the authors of the reports have never met. Professionals are diagnosing mental disorders, ADHD, disability and are even making false accusations of child abuse in written documents being presented to courts, hearings, benefit agencies and even child protection conferences, without ever even meeting the patient or client. These fraudulent documents have the power to ruin careers, determine whether patients are entitled to disability benefits and remove children from their families.
One mother told me that she was falsely accused of Munchausen by Proxy by a child psychiatrist who had never met her or her children. Another mother told me that her son had been prescribed the ADHD drug Ritalin by someone she had never met. So how bad is this problem? Well, if my research is correct, this is one of the largest acts of fraud and deception operating in our systems today.
Recently I published an article proving that leading psychologist and expert in Autism Lisa Blakemore-Brown had her career deliberately sabotaged by the British Psychological Society, when they chose to take the word of a psychiatrist who had never met Ms Blakemore-Brown. (1)
Dr Friedman had written a detailed report labeling Blakemore-Brown ‘paranoid‘ based on the opinion of others and paperwork which Ms Blakemore-Brown had been tricked to send in as part of her evidence.
In any other scenario the word of others would be classed as merely ‘hearsay’ however when the word of others is used by a psychologist/psychiatrist to formulate an ‘opinion’ in cases involving the General Medical Council, British Psychological Society and the Health Professionals Council, their word is taken at face value. In the case of Ms Blakemore-Brown the evidence on which Dr Friedman had based his views was dodgy to say the least.
Five years on and this practice still exists, innocent lives are being ruined after medical professionals continue to write reports based on the material they read and the word of others. These professionals demand high sums of money to write reports on clients that they have never met which are subsequently presented in courts and case conferences around the UK and I suspect around the world to determine the fate of others.
The HPC or the ‘Health Professions Council’ is a professional organization found to be using these dirty tricks, when they are asked to examine cases where psychologists registered by them have presented reports to courts and child protection conferences without ever seeing their client/patient.
This happened when one of the largest cases to ever go before the judiciary system was examined by the HPC. The case involved a young woman with Downs syndrome Miss Hollie Grieg. Miss Grieg had told her mother Anne that she had been sexually abused from the age of six by her father and her brother. This abuse was alleged to have taken place in Scotland where the family had been living at the time. Shocked and appalled Hollie´s mother Anne Greig reported the matter to the police.
Hollie soon began to disclose information on others that she said had also sexually abused her. Hollie Greig´s allegations included the name of a serving police officer with the Grampian force and an Aberdeen sheriff. See ref (2) for details
Interestingly, Hollie Greig´s complaints of abuse were NEVER taken seriously and NEVER investigated. In a report written by the police they admitted that at no time were the accused interviewed. This meant their homes were not searched, their computers were not analyzed and DNA was not taken. Shockingly, this was admitted in the Police Complaints Report and also the CICA (Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority). This report can be seen on a video shown on this website at the bottom of the page. Hollie Demands Justice The only exception to this was Hollie´s father and brother who were interviewed. According to Robert Green an investigator investigating the case it took as long as two years of complaints from Hollie and her mother Anne, before the police finally decided to interview Hollie´s brother and her father.
So why were Hollie Greig´s reports of abuse ignored? Surely it is usual for complaints of this nature to be taken very seriously, especially where the welfare of vulnerable children may be at risk?
Amazingly, psychologist Ms Carolyn McQueen employed to write a report on Hollie for Shropshire County Council stated that Hollie´s claims of sexual abuse were unsubstantiated. This was very strange because if no interviews were carried out, then how could Ms McQueen be absolutely sure that Hollie Greig´s claims were unsubstantiated?
According to a website set up in order to support Hollie Greig, a medical examination revealed that it was clear that she had been sexually abused. The site states:
“Medical and other evidence supported Miss G´s account and Grampian Police accepted the truth of Miss G´s statement. Nonetheless, no action was taken by Grampian Police against the perpetrators and despite AG´s persistence, the Procurator Fiscal, now Lord Advocate, Elish Angiolini prevented any police action taking place.” (2).
McQueen wrote the following in her report:
“Last year HG named further individuals involved in the abuse in Scotland. Again no evidence was found on investigation.”
It was later discovered that Ms McQueen had been asked by Tanya Mills, team locality manager for people with learning disabilities in Shropshire social services (where Hollie and her mother now lived) to review the case and make an assessment of the psychological impact of the current situation on Hollie Greig. This was because she was a vulnerable adult.
Mr Green stated on his website that McQueen was not the only professional to be asked to write a report on Anne and Hollie Greig, Helen Ogilvy, an independent social worker originally employed to help Anne get direct payments as a full-time carer for Hollie was also asked to write a report.(3)
Now to most of us, common sense would tell us that the only way that any professional could assess the mental health and capabilities of a patient, especially a vulnerable adult, would be to get to know them and assess them through many hours of study and observations. Hollie Grieg was after all a young disabled adult who had been abused continually throughout much of her young life by members of what was now appearing to be an organized pedophile ring. However, according to Robert Green neither woman had interviewed Hollie. Ms McQueen certainly made it abundantly clear that she had not assessed them either because she wrote:
“There are obvious constraints on undertaking a psychological assessment on an individual without being able to assess them directly. For example all data is historical and hence an opinion on their immediate presentation is not possible. However, drawing together information from case files and professionals who have knowledge of HG can be given of the possible effects on HG of her present situation, which can be investigated further if deemed necessary.”
The above paragraph from Ms McQueen´s report makes it quite clear that Ms McQueen had not examined or assessed Hollie or Anne at any time and yet she was able to make huge assumptions on the mental health of both these women.
As no action was clearly being taken by the authorities or the police to protect Hollie Greig, a vulnerable and disabled adult, from these people, Robert Green, decided that if those in authority would not do anything to protect Hollie then he would help Hollie to get the justice that she deserved by publicizing her case. She traveled with Mr Green to a conference of around 400 people in Bristol to listen to Robert about her abuse and also the ‘so called’ enquiries that had followed. All details of this meeting and all information surrounding this case has been widely publicized on an internet site set up to support and get justice for this family. (2)
Much of McQueen´s report clearly focuses on the fact that Anne and Hollie Greig had given evidence regarding the abuse of Hollie in public. At no time did she mention the fact that this action only took place after it became clear that no legal action was going to take place to put the perpetrators behind bars. Mr Green told me that the only reason that he decided to take this drastic step was to bring Hollie´s abusers to justice and to stop these dreadful practices continuing against others, including adults with learning difficulties.
“Anne and Hollie knew that they did not stand a chance and therefore in order to get justice and expose the criminals as well as those who were protecting them they decided to speak about their actions publicly. He said that Hollie was very angry and wanted people to know her story.”
With Robert´s help this was achieved. However as a result the authorities came after Hollie and Anne to silence them even though they were the victims.”
Without ever meeting the family, McQueen was able to refer to Anne as ‘vulnerable’ and suffering from mental health problems, even labeling her as ‘paranoid’ in support of an application by Shropshire Council for the Court to consider Hollie Greig´s residence. McQueen indicated that Hollie had become reliant on her mother and that she needed to become an independent person. In other words McQueen appeared to be labeling a woman that she had never met ‘mentally ill’ in order to aid the removal of Hollie from her care.
“Ideally the way forward is to work with AG and H.G to help resolve the trauma they have experienced and decrease the separation anxiety and allow them both to build more to begin to build more independent lives in the community.”
The content of McQueen´s report was so strong in fact that it was used as part of the evidence provided to aid bringing a court case against Anne Grieg, Robert Green and others in a bid to prevent Hollie from attending campaign meetings etc, whereby her medical records (sexual abuse) were to be spoken about in public. This was despite Hollie Greig (an adult in the eyes of the law) making her feelings very clear that she wanted to attend these meetings and speak out against her abusers.
Green told me that he was certain that the report was written in a bid to separate Anne from her daughter and to silence them both. He said that Anne believed that this was to protect the abusers.
In fact Mr Green felt so strongly about McQueen writing such a damning report about Anne and Hollie, without ever meeting either of them, that he wrote to the HPC reporting her as being unfit to practice. However, like thousands of other cases being reported to governing bodies against professionals using this method as evidence in court cases, hearings and child protection, her complaint fell on deaf ears. The HPC wrote this in a letter Robert Green as the final result:
The decision of the Committee is that there is no case to answer. Accordingly, no further action will be taken by the HPC in respect of the allegation(s).
This was exactly the same decision made in the case of Lisa Blakemore-Brown when she complained about the psychiatrist in her case.
The same outcome has also been reported involving doctors employed by ATOS, an organization that employ medical assessors to make decisions on disability allowances and payouts to victims of adverse reactions to vaccines.
Jonathan R Shaw (Minister of State (Disabled People), Regional Affairs; Chatham and Aylesford, Labour) says:
“The approved health care professionals’ (HCPs) role is to carry out an assessment of the functional effects of the customer’s disabling condition, and to utilize the information gathered to provide the decision maker with an impartial and independent assessment.
Atos doctors must be fully registered with the General Medical Council without current or previous restrictions, conditions or warnings and hold a license to practice from the date the GMC issues licenses. In addition they must have at least three years post full registration (GMC or EFA European Economic Area equivalent) experience as a minimum. Alternatively for non EU graduates three years post full registration experience in the doctors native country is required. In individual cases, solely at the discretion of the CMA, the requirements that no conditions or warnings be attached to registration and that the doctor must have a minimum of three years post registration experience, may be waived.” (4)
Despite the above however, in the first 6 months of this year 39 cases were brought to the attention of ATOS and 26 GMC registered docs were reported to the GMC in connection with their employment. None of these cases progressed to a Fitness to Practice Hearing.
The above information was gained after submitting a letter to the Freedom of Information request. The FOI request states:
“Please note that these 39 enquiries include some in which the word ´ATOS´ is mentioned but where the actions of ATOS or that of doctors employed by ATOS is incidental to the primary complaint. By interrogating our case management further in respect of these complaints, I have therefore determined that of the 39 enquiries identified above 26 specifically relate to complaints made against GMC registered doctors as a direct result of their employment with ATOS. None of these enquiries have proceeded to Fitness to Practice Panel hearing.”
I have been told by one mother that she knows of many parents complaining about doctors employed by ATOS who have written reports on their children without ever meeting them.
This is borne out by a posting on a Mental Health Forum. (5)
Quote contributors own spelling
i am struggling under pressure hugely at the moment. i have been suffering from severe depression and anxiety for over 6 years and am under the cmht with a care co ordinator and support worker. i also suffer from alcoholism and am currently 3 months clean. i went to the esa assessment and failed. i scored 0 points despite suffering from severe anxiety stuttering and being alcohol dependent. i am not able to leave the house unless i go out with someone i attend support groups through two different mental health depts, one a day hospital and one a support centre. i drive there but i know there is going to be a support worker at the other end when i arrive. Despite all this they scored me 0. i then appealed, i sent in letters of support from my psychiatrist my key worker from the day hospital and a letter from my care coordinator. Despite all this a person who had never met me decided they agreed with the first decision and said i was fit for work.”
For those who are unsure of what an ESA assessment is, mentioned in the above comment, the ESA or Employment Support Allowance is a new benefit replacing the former Incapacity Benefit.
On another blog (6) a poster wrote:
“There´s thousands upon thousands of adverse opinions regarding ATOS on dozens of blogs and forums, Thousands of vitriolic comments denouncing ATOS as corrupt, accusing them of fabricating medical reports on behalf of the DWP.
Another poster says:
“A desensitized version of my disturbing and damning research report appears on my website and you´ll see how bad it gets once you´ve accessed 9 months of research following a home visit by an AH doctor who produced a bogus report, claiming to have examined me when no examination had taken place. I think the penny has finally dropped with Atos that this is against the law and a breach of medical ethics, and the young man concerned is being investigated now by the GMC. All medicals by Atos have NO public accountability according to both the GMC & Healthcare”
Finally, I am going to mention one more organization using professionals paid to write very detailed reports on clients that they never meet. This organization is called the VDPU or Vaccine Damage Payments Unit. The VDPU was set up to assess individuals claiming that they have been adversely affected by a vaccine recommended by the UK government.
The VDPU use assessors to assess the claims of any individual who believes that they have been vaccine damaged. Wendy Stephen is the mother of Katie Stephen. Katie became seriously ill and was left profoundly deaf in one ear after being given the Pluserix vaccine, an MMR vaccine now banned in the UK. Mrs. Stephen said:
“Katie has applied and been refused by the VDPU for compensation in total 4 times. She has been advised that her claim has been assessed/re-examined a total of 5 times by /healthcare practitioners/medical advisers. We have had no communication at all with these individuals, have never been provided with a copy of the actual reports compiled by the medical advisers for the VDPU and at no time has Katie been interviewed or examined in person. We have no details at all re the individuals who have carried out the assessments. We don’t know if it’s been the same individual throughout or if a different individual has been involved at each referral. We are aware of the one time when the VDPU specifically advised us that they were intending to have her claim reassessed with by a “different” healthcare provider, other than that we have no information whatsoever.”
Today we learned yet another appeal failed to get the financial entitlement that this young woman is owed. Once again the decision was decided on a fraudulent report submitted by a VDPU assessor that has never met, examined or interviewed this young lady.
It is about time that professionals who write bogus reports on people that they have never met were held accountable. According to evidence I have found many of these professionals are paid as much as £2000 plus for their reports. This is taking money by deception and is therefore fraudulent. These reports are being presented to courts as genuine and affect the lives of real people. The victims of these fraudulent reports often lose their careers, children and money owed to them as a consequence. The actions of these professionals is despicable and the sooner this practice is stamped out the better. These reports have the power to diagnose mental illness and degree of disability. They have the power to decide those entitled to benefits and whether children should be taken away from their families and put in care or placed for adoption. It is vital that this practice is ended and it be made illegal for professionals to write a report on someone they have not met or assessed. False statements can lead to false imprisonment and those who entitled to benefits to go hungry.
I recently wrote an article explaining in depth events leading up to the attempted professional assassination of the talented and dedicated psychologist Lisa Blakemore-Brown. (1) What lay behind these deliberate acts of sabotage until now has remained a mystery. I believe that I now have enough evidence to expose the truth.
In my opinion the British Psychological Society (BPS) acted in a way that was corrupt, criminal and deliberate. I believe that their aim was to deliberately sabotage the career of Ms Blakemore-Brown in a way that would discredit anything that she had ever said.
I was a witness for Lisa Blakemore-Brown at her final BPS hearing and I more than anyone have true insight to what went on behind the closed doors in 2006.
The hearing was based on a complaint that had been sent in to the BPS concerning Ms Blakemore-Brown’s professionalism from a parent heavily involved with ADDIS, a support group for children suffering from ADHD. It later emerged that ADDIS was being heavily funded by Eli Lilly who first put the preservative thimerosal into vaccines.
A second complaint was then submitted by activist Penny Mellor who claimed that she believed that Ms Blakemore-Brown was suffering from paranoia. This complaint was submitted sometime after the original complaint.
Ms Blakemore-Brown found herself facing a string of complaints after she began speaking out about parents being falsely accused of Munchausen by Proxy and Shaken Baby Syndrome. She felt that many parents were being falsely accused after their child had suffered an adverse reaction to a vaccine
The case against Blakemore-Brown hinged on the fact that she had submitted what the BPS claimed to be irrelevant information and data as part of her evidence. The data related to vaccines, Dr David Southall, Prof Roy Meadow, the third world, Munchausen by proxy allegations and cot deaths. It was inferred that the information had little to do with her case and that it was irrational for Blakemore-Brown to include this in her evidence. It later emerged however, that this information was asked for during a telephone conversation between Ms Blakemore-Brown and the BPS. According to Ms Blakemore-Brown the BPS had requested this information after showing a distinct interest in her research and studies.
The phone call was eventually acknowledged by the BPS but true to form the BPS had conveniently forgotten to log the call thus making the material sent in by Ms Blakemore-Brown appear irrelevant and irrational.
As the case continued other inconsistencies emerged. These included evidence from a previous case that had somehow been put into her file by ‘mistake’ and emails that had never been sent and were clearly forgeries.
During the evidence provided another interesting fact emerged, this was that no one had bothered to tell Ms Blakemore-Brown that she was not going to be looked at for professional misconduct as originally stated but that the case had been changed during the course of the investigation to ‘Fitness to Practice’. Due to this ‘oversight’, it became clear that Ms Blakemore-Brown had actually been led by the BPS to send in irrelevant material demonstrating her work on Autism and her in depth research on vaccines, evidence on Dr D Southall and Prof Roy Meadow to prove her case as a competent psychologist.
On reading the transcripts (2) relating to the case that suddenly appeared on the internet without the knowledge or permission of Ms Blakemore-Brown it is easy for interested parties to see the tone of the hearing in general.
The transcripts largely surround the so called ‘disjointed’ evidence sent in by Ms Blakemore-Brown which Dr Trevor Friedman a psychiatrist for the BPS saw as evidence of her paranoia. This psychiatrist not only worked for the BPS but also the GMC and his research was funded by the pharmaceutical industry.
Dr Freidman stated that he had not examined Ms Blakemore-Brown because she had refused to be examined however, it soon emerged that her ‘so called’ refusal came only after legal advice.
I believe that the BPS colluded with Dr Friedman in order to prove that Ms Blakemore-Brown was suffering from ‘paranoia’ based on evidence and documentation that Ms Blakemore-Brown had been tricked into submitting as part of her evidence.
I believe that Ms Blakemore-Brown was asked to send this information in by the BPS originally because it was relevant to her capabilities as a psychologist. It was only after reading the material that the BPS began to realize that what Ms Blakemore-Brown had discovered could prove very dangerous to the UK vaccination programme. I believe that it was at the point that Ms Mellor was brought in to make a complaint of paranoia to disprove her theory and discredit what she had been saying. It has always seemed odd to me that Ms Mellor’s complaint began with the words “Dear Claire – As promised complaint in writing” I know this to be the case as I was a witness for Ms Blakemore-Brown surrounding the evidence of Ms Mellor who has since been named as a serial complainer..
I will now endeavor to explain why I believe this to be the case.
I can now prove just how relevant the paperwork that Ms Blakemore-Brown had sent to the BPS really was and how it was the paperwork that led them to not only change her case to fitness to practice but to take the course they did.
Lisa Blakemore-Brown was and still is an independent applied psychologist specialising in ADHD, Asperger Syndrome and related disorders. Her research focuses on early intensive system intervention and the increasing professional recognition of the interweaving of ADHD, Asperger Syndrome and related disorders which she calls ‘Tapestry Disorders’ because of the way the disorders interweave to build a unique picture of each individual child.
Blakemore-Brown has always believed that parents come under attack and are blamed, if they dare to question doctors, particularly if they believe that their child has become ill after a vaccination. She has spoken worldwide on the subject since 1996 and was the first ever professional to link autism, MSBP and adverse reactions to vaccines.
Blakemore-Brown first became involved with parents she believed to be falsely accused of MSBP back in 1996. This was after she was introduced to and asked to assess twin girls whose mother had been accused of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy. The paediatrician and expert leading the case was the since discredited Professor David Southall.
After spending many hours researching the twin’s background and studying the vast quantity of medical records ascertaining to the case, Ms Blakemore-Brown soon discovered that they had been born prematurely, at just 26 weeks and were severely disabled. Against all odds, the twins had managed to survive, even after they both suffered multiple complications which included brain haemorrhages.
Ms Blakemore-Brown diagnosed the twins with Autistic Spectrum Disorder and ADHD saying that they were, in fact, very disabled little girls,
Professor Southall and social services disagreed, stating that the twins were normal. Professor Southall later admitted on television in a TV3 20/20 New Zealand documentary called “Lies lies and Diagnoses’, a film that never saw the light of day in the UK surrounding the case, that he had no expertise in psychology or indeed the condition ADHD.
This being the case then why did he go against Ms Blakemore-Brown’s expert opinion when in fact he knew nothing whatsoever about psychology or the condition ADHD?
The case went to court and despite the evidence supplied by Ms Blakemore-Brown the twin’s mother lost all four of her children to the care of social services.
This case and others urged Blakemore-Brown to speak out about her concerns, especially after she had noticed a steady increase of accusations of MSBP involving parents with autistic children who were claiming that their children’s symptoms began after routine childhood vaccinations.
Over the years Ms Blakemore-Brown had become increasingly worried that Dr David Southall was heavily linked to not only cot death studies but also the testing of vaccines on vulnerable children. Blakemore-Brown also believed that Prof Roy Meadow was using MSBP and SBS to falsely accuse parents of child abuse particularly after a vaccine injury had occurred.
I believe the key reason behind the attempts to destroy Ms Blakemore-Brown is that she believed both Dr Southall and Prof Meadow were using false accusations of Munchausen by Proxy or MSBP to cover up children being damaged by vaccination and was not afraid to say so.
I now aim to prove that she has been right all along.
1. In 1987 Dr David Southall wrote a paper with V Stebbens and E. A Shinebourne, entitled ‘Sudden and unexpected death between 1 and 5 years’. Prof Southall recorded 5 cases of sudden infant death that gave the children’s full vaccine status. (3)
Two of these children died very shortly after routine childhood vaccines. All 5 children were being monitored in a large, population based, nonintervention study into the sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). It was noted that 3 of the 5 children suffered a cyanotic episode. These attacks are sometimes described as breath holding, apnea or breathing difficulties.
In this particular paper Southall described the full case history of each child who died and in each case he mentioned their vaccine status before their fatal attack.
2. In another paper entitled ‘Blue breath holding is benign.’ by J B P Stephenson, (4) Stephenson describes a paper written by Southall entitled ‘Recurrent cyan otic episodes with severe arterial hypox aemia and intrapulmonary shunting: a mechanism for sudden death.’ Arch Dis Child 1990;65:953-61.
Stephenson says that he spoke to Southall at a SIDS meeting about his work.
“During a recent scientific meeting (Scottish Cot Death Trust SIDS Research meeting, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, 28 November 1990) Dr David Southall agreed that the patients he was talking about had identical cyanotic episodes to those which I had recorded on videotape.
This videotape was of two typical breath holding spells in a 15 month old girl as illustrated in the figure. To make this meaningful to the clinical reader, the history is briefly summarized:
Breath holding spells began aged 7 months, five days after diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus immunization.”
Stephenson then went on to describe the child’s attack to Southall.
Of course Southall may have been simply agreeing to the type of symptoms seen in Stephenson’s patient but was he also agreeing to the fact that this child began symptoms after the vaccines?
This proves that Southall knew the dangers that vaccines posed to some children.
Another interesting and relevant point is this-
3. Southall’s paper ‘Sudden and unexpected death between 1 and 5 years’ written by Prof Southall, Stebbens and Shinebourne was written the same year as Prof Roy Meadow also an expert witness in MSBP attended meetings with the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation at the Department of Health. (5)
These meetings were discussing adverse reactions and cot death after the DTP and at the introduction of the MMR.
This proves that both of these men were studying adverse reactions at the same time.
They are now key figures in the false accusations of many parents with vaccine damaged infants.
Both men were involved in the Sally Clark case where the child died shortly after a vaccine and where two prosecution witnesses, including the pediatrician Professor Sir Roy Meadow assured the jury that vaccines could be discounted. Their statements went unchallenged, and the issue did not form any part of the appeal hearings. (6)
4, Lisa Blakemore-Brown recently wrote:
“When a parent has suffered a cot death, cases are referred to the FSID (Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths) and the next baby is placed on what is called the CONI scheme – Care of the Next Infant. The scheme funds research and many other initiatives. Apnea monitors are given to parents, and health visitors monitor weight and other progress. Dr David Southall has always had a close involvement with the FSID and those within it.”
She asked – Were vaccine trials woven into the research funded by FSID, especially if the first cot death followed a vaccine?
Lisa Blakemore-Brown – A Very Disingenuous Doctor and a Very Large Elephant (7)
I believe I have the answer to many of the questions that Ms Blakemore-Brown has asked in her article regarding PACA, the third world and vaccines.
It is clear that Dr Southall did not accept vaccines as the possible cause of death in Sally Clark’s children; however, he knew only to well that vaccines could lead to breathing difficulties and death as did Prof Meadows.
5. Prof David Southall was struck off the medical register by the GMC in 2007.
6.Despite being struck off for second time however, Dr Southall won his appeal in 2010.
7. Dr David Southall is also heavily linked to UNICEF. Details of the links between the organizations can be found in a manual for health workers called ‘Child Friendly Healthcare’. (8)
The manual says:
The Initiative his been funded by the Community Fund (National Lotteries Board, UK) and is implemented by Child Advocacy International with the technical support of the Department of Child and Adolescent Health and Development of the World Health Organisation (WHO), the support of the Royal College of Nursing (UK) and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (UK), and in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
The manual also states:-
“Dr. David Southall OBE MBBS MD FRCPCH
David Southall is honorary medical director of Childhealth Advocacy International. He is the chair of the working party for CFHI (Child Friendly Healthcare Initiative). His main interests are the safe and effective management of emergencies in pregnancy, infancy and childhood. He has published many papers concerning the protection of children from abuse and is active in developing child protection systems for poorly resourced countries. He is particularly worried about the concept of suffering and how little attention is drawn to this in current international programs for mothers and children. He is also active in developing palliative care systems for disadvantaged countries. He has directed the development”
8. Between 1993 and 1995 Southall was consultant health advisor to UNICEF in the former Yugoslavia. In 1995 he was involved in the setting up of a charity, ‘Child Advocacy International’, which is involved in international child health issues. (9)
Does this mean that Dr Southall was actually employed by UNICEF? If so, then as an employee this would mean that he would be on their payroll.
Interestingly this was just two years after the DPT was changed to the DTaP due to the vast numbers of adverse reactions which included seizures and cot death.
9. In 1992 the MMR vaccine Pluserix was discontinued in the UK due to adverse reactions. (10)
According to Dr Andrew Wakefield in an interview he recently gave after they banned the MMR in the UK they then shipped supplies of this vaccine to the third world. (11)
This was a vaccine that had been banned in Canada, Australia and Japan and yet it was still sent to the third world.
Was it also possible that the old DPT vaccines were also sent to the third world?
It is clear from the document Parliamentary Debates (12) at the time that Professor Southall was working for UNICEF in Yugoslavia that money was given to UNICEF specifically for vaccination programme because the document states:
In April 1993 £100,000 was given to UNICEF health, nutrition and water project as part of Operation LIFELINE Sudan (OLS). In December 1993 a further £95,000 was disbursed to UNICEF for a primary health care and vaccination programme for refugee children in the former Yugoslavia (13)
In fact I found many papers referring to vaccines, cooling equipment and vaccination programmes in Yugoslavia around this time. I even found one referring to the training of physicians.
UNICEF unite for children
The Ten Difficult Years says
“What was done for children in Croatia?
Projects for the protection of children’s health ranged from vaccination (where UNICEF, through the Institute of Public Health, secured sufficient quantities of vaccines for children and the necessary cooling equipment for the storage and distribution of vaccines) to training of physicians, medical staff and parents (e.g. on respiratory diseases in children, the consequences of not enough iodine in the diet, oral rehydration, the advantages of breastfeeding, etc.), health education materials for children and young people, and aid in equipping hospital wards and out-patient clinics and setting up a system for monitoring children’s health.” (14)
I am sure as the consultant health advisor at this time these programmes would have been implemented by Dr Southall.
UNICEF has always been at the forefront of vaccination programmes in the third world. This is borne out by the latest UNICEF initiative which is giving newborn babies in third world countries a tetanus vaccine.
Some of these babies are weak and sickly through poor sanitation, malnutrition and filth. Flies buzz round as they lay sick and dying.
Many of them are suffering from severe diarrhea. Are vaccines really the first line of help these babies need? Wouldn’t better sanitation, good nutrition, vitamins and clean drinking water be better a better use of resources, as these babies first line of defense against disease? Perhaps, but UNICEF choose instead vaccines to combat their diseases.
10. UNICEF is openly seen conning the innocent public into buying Pampers nappies. UNICEF is giving vaccinations known to cause devastating side-effects to sick vulnerable babies in the third world. (15)
Even worse still UNICEF have linked up with Pampers (16) nappies/diapers in a campaign called UNICEF and Pampers Gift for Life Campaign 1 pack = 1 vaccine For every pack of Pampers bought 1 tetanus vaccine will be sent to the third world. UNICEF is advertising through heart wrenching adverts showing western mothers happily nursing happy healthy babies in a range of languages around the world shown on television.
We have constant adverts on the TV showing newborn babies being put into the arms of mothers from around the world. The song Happy Birthday rings in our ears whilst the message ‘Together we can eliminate newborn tetanus, One pack = I vaccine.’ (16)
All this proves to me that Lisa Blakemore-Brown career has been deliberately sabotaged in a deliberate attempt to cover up the truth. Blakemore-Brown has been made a scapegoat of and her career sabotaged as a warning to others. Justice needs to be done.
This has been written to expose the real truth surrounding Lisa Blakemore-Brown’s case in the hope that it will help her and in turn help the parents that she believes in and supports.
Thank you especially to Dr Viera Scheibner for leading me to the Cot Death studies where Dr Southall had spoken about children’s vaccination status.
2. Transcripts http://www.furiousseasons.com/documents/blakemore.pdf
3. David Southall, V Stebbens and E. A Shinebourne, ‘Sudden and unexpected death between 1 and 5 years’
4. Blue Breath Holding Is Benign by J. B. Stephenson http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1792842/pdf/archdisch00653-0093.pdf
5. Meadow Meetings http://www.profitableharm.com/sir_roy_medows_meetings_1.html
6. Article on Sally Clark http://www.spectator.co.uk/essays/all/30630/what-killed-sally-clarks-child.thtml
7. Lisa Blakemore-Brown – A Very Disingenuous Doctor and a Very Large Elephant http://www.theoneclickgroup.co.uk/documents/vaccines/A%20Very%20Disingenuous%20Doctor%20and%20a%20Very%20Large%20Elephant.pdf
8. Child Friendly Healthcare Manual
9. Between 1993 and 1995 Southall was consultant health advisor to UNICEF in the former Yugoslavia http://www.chre.org.uk/_img/pics/library/050414_Southall_Judgment.pdf
10. Pluserix information http://www.whale.to/vaccine/mmr15.html
11. See Part 6 Wakefield film http://www.whale.to/a/dr_andrew_wakefield.html
12. MMR timeline http://www.whale.to/vaccine/mmr_timeline.html
13. Historical debates
14. UNICEF for children http://www.unicef.hr/show.jsp?page=178726
15. UNICEF and Pampers http://www.pampers.co.uk/en_GB/Unicef
16. Pampers ad http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UdpK0EPplIA
David Southall speaking on the 20/20 documentary http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=b17_1184619566
Lisa Blakemore-Brown speaking on the 20/20 documentary http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=6e1_1189099834
The Ninth Circuit learns a lesson at the expense of Ms. Shirley Ree Smith. She will most likely be back in prison before Christmas even though she had previously had a conviction for shaken baby syndrome overturned. Andrew Rosenthal, with the New York Times states in his article ” That doesn’t sit well with us” – I agree.
Shaken Baby SyndromeBy ANDREW ROSENTHAL
The Republican presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum say the Ninth Circuit appeals court, based in San Francisco, should be abolished because they often disagree with its rulings. Apparently the appellate court has some detractors on the Supreme Court, too.
Take a look at the Supreme Court’s first ruling of the 2011 term, issued on Monday in a case entitled Javier Cavazos, Acting Warden v. Shirley Ree Smith. (Just runs trippingly off the tongue, doesn’t it?) Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who dissented along with Justices Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor, says bluntly that the majority chose this “case as a fit opportunity to teach the Ninth Circuit a lesson.”
I can tell a bad decision when I see one, but I don’t pretend to be an expert in the intricacies of Supreme Court decisions. So I asked our editorial board Supreme Court writer, Lincoln Caplan, for his take.
The case, Linc told me, is about a tragic death and conviction: Ms. Smith’s seven-week-old grandson died while in her care , and she was found guilty in a California trial of causing the baby’s death by shaking him. She was sentenced to 15 years to life. The Ninth Circuit noted that there are “very strict limits” for an appellate court to review a state criminal conviction, but in this case it found “no demonstrable support” for Ms. Smith’s conviction, and overturned it.
Now the Supreme Court has stepped in – to vacate the Ninth Circuit’s judgment on the premise that “it is the responsibility of the jury—not the court—to decide what conclusions should be drawn from evidence admitted at trial.” Linc and I detect a bit of glee in this rebuke.
Justice Ginsburg, however, wonders if it’s the Supreme Court, rather than the Ninth Circuit, that’s overreaching: “The Court’s summary disposition of this case, in my judgment, is a misuse of discretion.” She asks “Is this Court’s intervention really necessary?”
Ultimately our reaction to this case has little to do with process. It’s hard for me to set aside that doctors now question whether infants can be fatally injured through shaking alone. Deborah Tuerkheimer, a professor of law at DePaul University and former assistant district attorney in Manhattan, wrote about it on our Op-Ed page in September 2010 and Emily Bazelon picked up the subject again for the Times Sunday Magazine in February this year.
Shirley Ree Smith, now 51, served 10 years of her sentence. She has been free for five years since the Ninth Circuit overturned her conviction, but she is expected to return to prison before Christmas. That doesn’t sit well with us.
Posted: Sep 07, 2011 3:45 PM PDT
Jackson County (WQOW) – A prosecutor explains why he’s dismissing child abuse charges against an area woman.
Natasha O’Brien’s first trial ended in a hung jury. Jackson County DA Gerald Fox will not pursue a second trial. O’Brien’s four-month old son was hospitalized with multiple injuries, including a skull fracture and a broken wrist. Doctors who cared for the baby said it would take an adult to cause the injuries, which included signs of shaken baby syndrome.
O’Brien said her three-year old son pulled the baby from his crib, and the infant fell on his head. The DA says he decided not to retry O’Brien after her lawyer showed him proof that the crib had been involved in a safety recall, and because a reenactment videotaped by law enforcement showed that the three-year old was able to lift a 10 pound bag of sugar, equivalent to the baby’s weight.
Fox says that convinced him of reasonable doubt. He will not reveal the child’s current condition, but says O’Brien’s children remain in protective custody.