Shaken Baby Syndrome Controversy

45-year old Audrey Edmunds is in year 10 of an 18 year prison sentence for the death of an infant.

Prosecutors say Edmunds fatally shook 7-month old Natalie Beard more than a decade ago.

Edmunds' defense attorney says the coroner in the case has reversed his 1996 testimony against Edmunds.

6 doctors testified last month that new medical science puts to question earlier knowledge of shaken baby syndrome, and the baby's death could have been caused by illness or trauma experienced hours before Natalie arrived at Edmund's Waunakee day care center in October of 1995.

The case has caused some controversy. Today, prosecutors brought in medical experts to deny these claims. They say the death could have been the result of an old injury.

Misdiagnosed and the time frame, that's what's being debated, after years of research, many physicians are speaking out on the violent shaking and abuse of infants known as shaken baby syndrome or SBS.

"There are some cases that are in a gray zone and they may not have all of your typical features," says Dr. Betty Spivack, Child Abuse Pediatrician.

And that gray zone is exactly what's being argued, in the case of Audrey Edmunds, a former daycare provider accused of abusing and killing a 7-month-old

This case is just one of several SBS cases in Wisconsin.
In 2006 the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin reported a 40 percent increase of cases, locally physicians say the numbers are increasing.

"What we are seeing at the University of Wisconsin children's hospital is actually increased numbers of abusive head trauma over the course of the past few months," says Dr. Barbara Knox with UW Children's Hospital.

Starting in April all caregivers will be required to watch this video, portrait of promise, it's an effort organizations like Wisconsin's children's Trust Fund hope will prevent SBS cases.

“Nobody wakes up in the morning and says I'm going to shake this baby but it happens and it happens by well intentioned caregivers," says MaryAnne Snyder, Executive Director of Children's Trust Fund.

But it's the constant crying and built up frustration organizations are now trying to educate mothers on, with hopes to put an end to abusing infants.

"If they get in a situation where they're feeling frustrated that they put the baby down, call somebody, call a friend, call family, call one of these parental stress numbers that are available in many communities," says Kevin Brown, Prevent Child Abuse Program Director.


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