by Brian Shilhavy
Editor, Health Impact News
Dr. Waney Squier is a renowned British pediatric neuropathologist and considered the UK’s leading scientist in the field of pediatric neuropathology.
Dr. Squier has worked as a consultant at the John Radcliffe Hospital for 32 years.
Until 16 years ago, she vehemently supported and adhered to the mainstream belief that when a medical professional suspects that an infant has been violently shaken, they must examine the baby for the “triad” of injuries believed to be associated with shaken baby syndrome (SBS).
However, after examining the science behind SBS, Dr. Squier changed her opinion of SBS, and went from being a doctor who testified against parents and others who were accused of shaking their babies and injuring or killing them, to being a doctor who defended such parents and caregivers by offering other medical evidence that could explain such evidence apart from “shaking.”
As a result, her peers in the medical field attacked her, and in March of 2016 the UK General Medical Council (GMC) found Dr. Waney Squier guilty of “misleading her peers, being irresponsible, dishonest and bringing the reputation of the medical profession into disrepute” and she was “struck off the medical register” which prevented her from practicing medicine.
However, over 350 doctors, scientists and lawyers rallied together in her support, and in an unprecedented move they sent a letter of protest to the British Medical Journal (BMJ), questioning the GMC’s decision.
As a result, in October 2016, Dr. Waney Squier won her appeal and was reinstated. However, although Dr. Squier’s name was returned to the medical register, she has been prevented from giving evidence as an expert witness for another three years, which many believe was her punishment for standing up to the establishment.
Dr. Waney Squier gave a TedX talk in November 2017 at Wadsworth, and it is now available on YouTube.
In the opening of the talk, Dr. Squier relates the story of how a young mother was wrongly convicted of shaking her baby and killing him, in part due to her own testimony against her, but later her conviction was overturned as she was found innocent. But by then she had lost both her children (one died, the other was adopted out) and her husband (divorced her) due to having to spend time in prison.
But as a pediatric neuropathologist, she began to study the brains of babies. She found major flaws with the SBS hypothesis, which she says has incarcerated thousands of parents.
The shaken baby hypothesis depends on the assumption that shaking is the cause, and that shaking can generate enormous force equivalent to a fall from a second story window, or a rare traffic accident.
And what’s more, the shaking event is never witnessed. And its effects are almost always immediate.
So with this hypothesis, its easy to identify the perpetrator. It’s the person who was alone with the baby, and who brought him to medical care.
The idea that shaking might cause the triad (of injuries) was first proposed back in the early 1970s by a small group of doctors in the United States.
It wasn’t based on research studies, but on anecdotal reports, an article in Newsweek, and speculation.
Nobody then had witnessed a normal baby being shaken and develop the triad.
And nobody has to this day.
So laws were introduced across the United States requiring doctors to report even the mere suspicion of abuse.
Failure to do so, could result in prosecution.
On the other hand, when doctors to report something as abuse, they’re granted immunity from prosecution, even if their report is unfounded or totally false.
And so reports of abuse went from tens, to hundreds, to thousands a year.
And the shaken baby hypothesis grew from an idea, speculation, into a “syndrome.” And that “syndrome” is taught as fact in textbooks, and in medical schools.
Watch the entire TedX talk:
Dr. David Ayoub, a U.S. radiologist and published rickets expert and lecturer, recently stated in an interview on CNN that the number of parents wrongly convicted of SBS in the U.S. was in the “tens of thousands.” See:
Florida Dad Wrongfully Convicted for Shaking Baby and Served 20+ Years of a 70 Year Sentence Featured on CNN
Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Opens the Legal Door to Retry All Shaken Baby Syndrome Convictions
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