Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Some of you may remember a post from last month, PICU Lesson #3: Never Shake A Baby.  For those of you who don't, read it first and this will make more sense...

I heard this morning that both parents of the 3 month old boy, now 4 months old and home from the hospital with a foster family, have been arrested and charged with numerous things including 1st degree attempted murder.  The news story, which I will not post here to protect the identity of the patient and his family, said that investigators suspect this was a planned, intentional act of attempted murder rather than an impulsive act of child abuse.  Both the mother and father are being held on $10 million bail, the highest bail in the history of the county in which they are held. 

The baby is living in foster care, and according to the news is in a persistent vegetative state.  When I last saw him in the hospital, he was awake and crying, although it's hard to tell in a 4 month old what is intentional behavior and what is reflexive.   He was diagnosed with a tibial fracture after being moved from the PICU to the floor, because he became very aggitated and his foot was swollen.  They did another set of xrays and found the new fracture that had not been seen on the original set.  Whether it really is new (which I suspect) or was not yet visible on the originals I don't know.  He got a feeding tube placed before he left, because when he tries to swallow some of it goes into his lungs.  He didn't end up needing a tracheostomy, which is good I suppose.

Overall, he is doing better than many of us expected.  But his outlook is still incredibly poor.  If he continues to heal and survive, he will likely still have no meaningly recovery.  And it is entirely possible that the seizures will prove too much for his little body to handle and he will not survive.

I plan on following the trial of his parents closely, and will let you know what comes of it.  I suspect they will be going to jail for a very long time.  And while I feel that is entirely appropriate for the horrible things they did to their son, I wonder how this story can also be used to prevent future abuse of children as innocent as this baby was...

Something to ponder, I suppose.

From Starbucks study land,


About Me

I am a Family Medicine intern at a community hospital in Indiana, navigating the new world of being a physician. I am privileged to work in a field I love, where every day is a new and unpredictable challenge.
I am not only a doctor, but also a cyclist, runner, DIYer in the making, lover of the outdoors, traveler, and human.
Human, MD is a glimpse into the world of a young doctor who is just trying to stay true to herself through the grueling whirlwind of residency.


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