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Re B (A Child) [2014] EWHC B1 Fam 21

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In this case we represented a father whose son had sustained head injuries and ophthalmological injuries.  The case was considered in the High Court.  The explanation provided by the parents was that the child had 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 ‘acute on chronic subdural haematomas’ (an old bleed to the brain 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 bilateral retinal haemorrhages and a macular fold.  The explanation provided by the parents was not accepted and they were accused of shaking their child.  Throughout proceedings experts were instructed including 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 it was established that the father suffered from Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS).  The likelihood was that the child also suffered this condition.  Having heard all the evidence throughout a Finding of Fact Hearing, 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. Please see full judgement here.