Infant Head Trauma
Children live rough-and-tumble lives. They fall over. They get knocked about. They suffer bumps, breaks and bruises. Accidents can happen and sometimes the consequences of these accidents can be severe. The current climate of fear generated by Social Services means that these breaks and bruises are sometimes misinterpreted as signs of abuse, and attributed to “Non-Accidental Injury.”
In our years of experience in addressing cases of Non-Accidental Injury, we have seen many where parents have been so accused; we have seen and addressed pretty much the full catalogue of injuries that can be classified as non-accidental in nature, including various instances of head trauma.
Where you find yourself accused of inflicting Non-Accidental Injuries of any kind upon you child, Brendan Fleming Solicitors can offer you immediate support, advice and assistance. Our experts have years of experience in the area of Non-Accidental Injury which can be brought to bear to help defend your case. To benefit from our expertise, contact us today. Call us on 0121 683 5000, or click through to our contact form using the button below.
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Why You Need Brendan Fleming Solicitors for Your Case
Brendan Fleming, [is] the most formidable of the few British solicitors prepared to fight for parents whose children have been seized by social workers for seemingly no good reason.
– Christopher Brooker, The Telegraph 2013.
Brendan Fleming speaking at the Stop Forced Adoption conference and covering many aspects of care proceedings.
We know that you love your child. We know that you would do anything to prevent them from coming to harm. When someone turns to us for help with their Non-Accidental Injury case, these are the stable data from which we operate. Unfortunately, Social Services have adopted a different, more accusative attitude. It is the local authority that accuses you of non-accidental injury NOT the police.
We have a reputation for standing up to the local authority. We fight tooth and nail for positive outcomes in EVERY case we take on.
Our 24 hour helpline is open for you and here you will find the most important information boiled down to just a few short pages to explain what happens in these types of cases.
We can successfully fight your Non-Accidental Injury Case. Contact us today to find out what we can do to help you. Call us on 0121 683 5002 (out of hours mobile or for texting: 07730 143 432) or click through to our contact form using the button below.
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A Dedicated Non-Accidental Injury Department
We are committed to redressing the injustice of parents being falsely accused of causing Non-Accidental Injury to their children. Our commitment is such that we have established a dedicated Non-Accidental Injury Department to address such cases. The department is manned with our leading specialists in the area, with years of cumulative experience in successfully overturning wrongful accusations of Non-Accidental Injury.
Where we can, we will work to have such accusations overturned at the level of investigation, before the case is even brought before the court.
Case History In Re A:
In this case we represented a father. The parents had been accused of causing acute bleeding to the brain and the membranes of the eyes in their very young baby by way of trauma of shaking.
The case was heard in the High Court. A number of medical experts were instructed to assist the Court into the causation of these injuries including a Paediatric Haematologist, Paediatric Neuro-Surgeon, Paediatric Neuro-Radiologist, Neonatologist, Paediatrician and a Paediatric Ophthalmologist. The child and his sibling were placed in foster care whilst the investigations were undertaken. The medical experts could not find a medical explanation for the injuries sustained by the child.
During the course of the Finding of Fact Hearing father conceded that he had been reckless with the child throwing him in the air whilst playing with him, got distracted by another child and did not catch the child resulting in the child falling some height onto the bed. The Court found that the cause of the injuries were accidental.
Both siblings were swiftly returned to the care of the mother.
Case History In Re M:
In this case we represented a mother. Her very young baby, who had suffered with a number of conditions since birth, was presented to hospital and examinations revealed bleeding to the brain and the membranes of the eyes, fractures and bruising.
The case was heard in the High Court. A number of experts were instructed to assist the Court as to the causation of these injuries including a Paediatric Radiologist, Paediatric Neuro-Surgeon, Neonatologist, Paediatric Ophthalmologist, Paediatrician and Paediatric Haematologist. No medical cause was identified for the cause of the injuries to the child. Father accepted that he was responsible for causing the fractures to the legs. The Court found that the father was also responsible for causing the other injuries to the child. Mother was found to have failed to protect.
Case History In Re S:
In this case we represented a father. His very young baby had sustained bleeding to the brain and the membranes of the eyes.
The history provided was that the baby’s sibling had accidentally dropped the baby. The baby was immediately presented to hospital as she appeared floppy and pale. She was observed and discharged. The parents were not satisfied that their baby was well and presented the baby back to the hospital. Further examination revealed that she had sustained acute bleeding to the brain. This explanation was not accepted by the hospital who examined the baby and they were accused of shaking their baby. The baby was discharged from hospital into the care of the Maternal Grandparents supervising the parents at their property to enable the baby to remain with the family. This case was considered by the High Court. A number of medical experts were instructed including Paediatric Haematologist, Paediatrician, Paediatric Ophthalmologist, Paediatric Neuro-Surgeon, Paediatric Neuro-Radiologist and a Geneticist as mother and another sibling had a genetic condition which was also inherited by the baby.
After receiving some of the reports from the medical experts, the Judge dealing with the matter discharged the application of the Local Authority as it was accepted that the cause of the injuries was the incident initially provided. No Findings Made.
Case History In Re Q:
In this case we represented a father. His very young baby had sustained acute bleeding to the brain.
The case was considered by the High Court. The parents could not provide an explanation for this injury and were accused of shaking their baby. The baby was placed in the care of the Maternal Grandmother. A number of medical experts were instructed including a Neuro Surgeon and Neonatologist. It was advised that a Neuro-Radiologist should also be brought in to assist. It was identified that the child suffered with a rare vascular disorder which was responsible for the injuries sustained.
The Local Authority withdrew their application for a Care Order and the baby returned home to the care of her parents.
Case History In Re B:
In this case we represented a father. The parents were accused of shaking their baby after he was presented to hospital with bleeding to the brain and the membranes of the eyes.
Initially, the baby was placed in foster care but following a successful family assessment he was placed with the Maternal Grandparents. The case was considered by the High Court. A number of medical experts were instructed to assist the Court including a Paediatrician, Paediatric Neuro-Surgeon, Paediatric Neuro-Radiologist, Paediatric Ophthalmologist, Haematologist and a Forensic Pharmacologist.
After considering the evidence at the Finding of Fact Hearing the Court found the injuries had been sustained by accident by the mother in a state of panic when she believed that her child was not breathing and therefore feared that he was dying. The Local Authority’s application for a Care Order was dismissed. No Findings were made. The child returned home to his parents.
Case History In Re M:
In this case we represented a father. Both mother and father were accused of shaking their young baby.
The baby had also sustained fractures and bruising which the parents were accused of being responsible for. The case was considered in the High Court. A number of medical experts were instructed including a Paediatrician, Paediatric Ophthalmologist, Paediatric Neuro-Surgeon, Paediatric Neuro-Radiologist and a Paediatric Radiologist. The medical experts were unanimous in their view that the injuries were Non Accidental in nature.
Mother was found to have caused all of the injuries. If was accepted that father was present during the time-frame in which the injuries could have been caused. Father was exonerated.
Case History In Re B:
The child suffered a short fall from a bed onto a carpeted floor and started fitting and collapsed. The child was rushed to hospital where he suffered a cardiac arrest and had to be resuscitated. He underwent an emergency craniotomy which revealed that he had both old and new bleeds to the brain) suggestive that he had suffered a previous brain trauma. The craniotomy revealed that the brain was under enormous intracranial pressure which had to be relieved through surgery. The child was later found to also have multiple bleedings to the membranes of the eyes and scaring to the eye tissue.
All the evidence initially pointed towards the child having been shaken and the social worker submitted initial evidence that it was ‘impossible’ for the child to have suffered such severe injuries as a result of a short fall from a bed onto a carpeted floor, an assertion which we went to great lengths to challenge and ultimately we did very successfully.
Throughout proceedings we instructed a haematologist, neurosurgeon, paediatrician, ophthalmologist and geneticist. There was no evidence of any bleeding disorder however, through acquiring and considering the paternal family’s medical history and the opinion of the geneticist we were able to establish that the father suffered from Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS) which is a connective tissue disorder which predisposes the suffer to (among other things) easy bruising and vascular fragility leading to easy bleeding. The likelihood was that the child also suffered this condition.
The general view was that the chronic (old) bleed was a birth related injury and we heard evidence about research which strongly suggests that approximately 40-45% of babies suffer some form of a bleed to the brain through the trauma of the birth process. So then we had to deal with the causation of the severe acute bleeds, multiple bleeds an to the membranes of the eye and eye tissue scaring.
There are 3 injuries which, when combined, are widely thought to be highly suggestive of an episode of shaking. These are multiple acute bleedings to the brain, multiple bleedings to the membranes of the eyes and bleeding in the spinal column. There was no spinal injury here. We heard evidence from the neurosurgeon that the emerging medical opinion was that short falls can account for significant bleeds to the brain and that it could not be ruled out that this child, in the context of a chronic birth-related bleed and a diagnosis of EDS, did suffer such serious subdural bleeding through a seemingly uneventful fall from a bed. The paediatrician agreed that in these circumstances he would be very uncomfortable with a finding of non-accidental injury and described this little boy’s circumstances as “the perfect storm”; essentially it was an accident waiting to happen.
This left the ophthalmologist who had initially been reluctant to rule out NAI. However, when presented with the other experts’ opinions, and the fact that the child was likely suffering with EDS, he gave evidence that although they knew what could not cause bleeding to the membranes of the eyes, he agreed that it could not be ruled out that raised pressure of the brain cavity to such a high degree as in this child caused the bleeding and scaring to the eye tissues.
Having heard all the evidence, the court ruled that this was an accidental injury and not the result of shaking or any other non-accidental cause and dismissed the Local Authority’s case entirely and the child was immediately returned to the care of his parents.
To see how we can similarly help you with your case, contact us today. Call us on 0121 683 5000, or click through to our contact form using the button below.
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Whether referred to as “Shaken Baby Syndrome”, “Abusive Head Trauma”, “Non Accidental Head Injury” or “Inflicted Brain Injury”, accusations of abusive conduct can occur when an infant is found to have sustained head injuries.
The symptoms most usually seen in cases of head trauma are bleeding of the eye or of the brain itself.
“Subdural” or “Subarachnoid Haemorrhaging” are terms used to describe two of the kinds of bleeding that can be found within the brain itself and are terms often used in cases of suspected non-accidental injury. Each injury to a child’s brain is unique as is the prognosis. Sometimes children may have bleeding to specific single locations on the brain others may be multiple locations. They may of single density of mixed density. They may be Chronic (Old) or Acute (New) or sometimes a combination of the two. Sometimes the bleeds will resolve themselves other require medical intervention. It is known that children can sustain bleeding to the brain as part of the birth process. Bleeding to the brain, unless there is a medical cause identified for the injury and unless there is a clear explanation of trauma – accidental or otherwise, is suspicious of Non-Accidental Injury.
“Retinal Haemorrhage” is another term often used in cases of suspected non-accidental injury. It simply refers to a bleeding of the membranes of the eyes and is often seen alongside Subdural Haemorrhaging. Sometimes it is seen without bleeding to the head. There are various types of retinal haemorrhaging; all are descriptive of bleeding to the eye, just in different parts. There may be damage to the optic disks; there may not. There may be detached retinas. There may be scaring to the retina, referred to as “macular folds”, etc. If retinal haemorrhages are identified, then a expert Ophthalmologist is usually appointed to assist with the identification, causation, aging, mechanism and timing. It is known that sometimes retinal haemorrhages can be caused as part of the birth process.
The Solution To Your Non-Accidental Injury Case
If you have been accused of abusing or injuring your child, you must contact our specialist team today.
Whether you are merely under investigation for suspected abuse or injury, or whether this has moved forward into legal proceedings, we can provide the expert legal representation you need.
If you feel confused or upset with your current solicitor’s handling of your case and are looking to engage a specialist Non-Accidental Injury firm, fill out the form below or give us a call.
We will help you fight your case. Where we can, we will prevent your child being taken from you. Contact us today. Call us on 0121 683 5000, or complete the contact form below: