Monday, February 8, 2010

For Love and For Justice / Part 105 / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

SBS – based on a diagnostic triad of symptoms

Shaking an infant is an unquestionably dangerous and reprehensible action. All efforts to reduce the risks to children by caregivers who do not know how to understand the baby’s needs or cope with a baby’s cries and behaviour are to be commended and supported.

Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) is, in essence, a medical diagnosis based on the presence of a diagnostic triad: (1) retinal bleeding, (2) bleeding in the protective layer of the brain, and (3) brain swelling. Bethany had all three. She was a sick baby girl. A well informed doctor when faced with an injured child with no evidence of physical abuse other than the triad of SBS symptoms will consider it his/her duty to be cautious for the sake of both the child and the parents. A respected pediatrician from Vancouver Children’s Hospital diagnosed Bethany as a Shaken Baby.

Presently, reporting regulations require that when retinal hemorrhages and subdural hematomas are discovered in a child, the child is immediately referred to protective services. A mitigating factor must be a believable story from the parent or care giver. If the story cannot be corroborated and if it is merely a story about a household mishap rather than a motor vehicle accident or something traumatically awful, SBS is the fall back assessment. Little or no attention was given to her three month premature birth and the bone fragility and chemical deficiencies consequent to that. Charges will not be laid if the story is supported by a credible witness or two. If that story doesn’t sell, then the SBS diagnosis is applied and the caregiver is put under suspicion and possibly charged. A Shaken Baby has to have a shaker, and who would be the most likely shaker? One or both of the parents. The child will not receive further testing for alternative causes.

With that background data it was reasonable that the Bayne children were taken from the parents in order to protect the children. The Ministry had already discounted the Bayne’s story of an accidental fall of one child on to their baby girl. The accident scenario was reported and recorded in all medical records at various hospitals and clinics over three weeks following the accident. A later CT scan of Bethany’s head confirmed internal bruising precisely at the spot on her head which Zabeth had identified as the area of contact between brother and sister. The attendant physician verified that this bruise was consistent with a contusion at that head location.

That was then. Zabeth and Paul while being subjected to interrogation, arrest, criminal charge, fingerprinting, then dropped charges and a wish of ‘good luck’ from the RCMP, likely looked alarmed and frantic. You don’t put on your best face during a crisis like that. However, in the days, weeks and months that followed, the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) was inundated with letters speaking to the parents’ character, integrity and reliability. Would those references be enough to counter the unexplained head trauma?

Paul and Zabeth had themselves never heard of Glutaric Aciduria yet in internal documents they obtained from the Ministry (MCFD), they learned that their daughter, who had been examined by doctors who were in touch with MCFD, may be suffering from Glutaric Aciduria. Interestingly, this is a condition that is often mistaken for shaken baby syndrome, or child abuse. Glutaric aciduria is a genetic disorder with varied symptoms, sometimes including bleeding and swelling of the brain. Note that this was a Ministry report on file yet unprioritized in order to prefer the unsubstantiated conclusion that the baby had been shaken.

• MCFD pursued an unsubstantiated allegation, let’s call it a suspicion that Baynes shook their baby girl.
• SBS is unproven among biomechanic specialists and pathologists as a valid scientific finding.
• The SBS diagnosis of a Child Protection doctor who examined baby Bayne was challenged by ten prominent medical experts who communicated with the Baynes and whose reports were filed with the MCFD and its lawyer.
• The validity of SBS Shaken Baby Syndrome is being questioned in courts internationally.
• Some courts are banning the use of SBS as a prosecutorial cause and are overturning previous convictions.
• MCFD treatment of Paul and Zabeth appears to demonstrate an intention to permanently remove the Bayne children from their birth parents.

The reliability of an SBS diagnosis however, has become progressively more doubtful as research has increased. In the early 2000’s SBS skeptics emerged particularly with regard to SBS’s legitimacy as a diagnosis when used within the court for prosecution purposes and the number of skeptics has created into a reform movement in the United States and in Canada.

How prolific must misdiagnoses be in North America that innocent people and advocates for innocent people feel compelled to create an entire defence program and a website to assist one another to overcome invasive assaults by government children’s’ agencies. While ostensibly created to protect children, in more cases than any of us desire to know, such agencies through ill advised decisions have destroyed entire families and squander children’s’ futures because the right decisions were not made.

Here is a website called Shaken Baby Syndrome Defense. It wouldn’t exist apart from the appalling quantity of parents and caregivers who have been suspected, charged, convicted and sentenced wrongfully for shaking a baby, when in fact the physical symptoms being flagged have been misdiagnosed.


  1. Ron, you need to get your facts straight! Bethany WAS NOT 3 months premature. In fact she was barely premature at all. Bethany was born like many many children I care for at 34 weeks gestation. That is only considered premature by one week! My own daughter was 34 weeks and 5 days gestation and was not considered premature at all. 35 to 40 weeks gestation is normal!! If you are going to write facts to consider like this you need to get it straight.
    And everyone in the public that is in support of this comment please comment on your own as well. Do it anonymously if you must but the more I read the more one sided this story is becoming and we all know there are 2 sides to every story!! Come on guys, speak up!

  2. However, Baden was born at 24 weeks gestation. Issues regarding his health are definately due to being born so early. It is amazing that he survived. Doesnt anyone feel sad for him that Bethanys injuries are being blamed on him falling on her? When Bethany was born Baden didnt weigh much, in fact I can find out what he weighed at that time and post it so everyone can wonder how such a tiny little boy could cause such damage to his baby sister. (and why was she as a newborn laying on the floor?) The little guy that was too little to remember what happened and even if he did wouldnt be able to communicate what happened. Doesnt anyone wonder about that? Hes an easy target. And when he grows up and finds out he was blamed for something he didnt do even if they explain it like it was an accident, how do you think he will feel?
    Come on people, dont be blind. Get ALL of the facts before you cast judgement on either side!!

  3. Thanks for the correction Tracey. I will recheck my information. I won't need your help for the details of Baden's weight or height. I do feel sorry for Baden. I am confident that an objective account to him as he grows older will provide him with a balanced view of the event.

  4. I can't take it anymore. As a personal friend of one of the foster families involved, I have had the priviledge of hearing, and seeing, things that directly contradict most of the information being blogged here Ron. I promised confidentiality, and so have hesitated to this point, as have multitudes of others. Because of confidentiality there has been no "other" information presented. I am not naming names, outside of the Bayne children, who, unfortunately for this site and others like it, have lost all pretense of their rights to privacy.

    As the previous blogger stated, Bethany wasn't "severely premature". She was born at 34 weeks - 5 lbs, 2oz. Her mother, according to hospital records, checked out of the hospital 3 hours after Bethany's birth, and didn't return to see her new baby for days. Bethany went home a healthy baby. What chemical imbalances Ron? What bone fragility? This is important because those were the reasons given to explain away Bethany's older brother Baden's own multiple healed fractures when HE was an infant. The same tiny little boy who apparently fell and caused such horrific injuries to his baby sister ... Now Baden WAS diagnosed with premature ostopenia, and maybe so, because he was severely premature. But twice? To two children? Hard to swallow. Another reason to pause - this little boy, diagnosed globally delayed, with premature ostopenia (brittle bones) who had his own numerous healed fractures from who knows what, had NO injuries after falling on his baby sister?

    Further to the triad of injuries that you menioned Ron, bleeding brain, bleeding eyes, and injury to the occipital lobe, Bethany also had a fractured skull, a fractured femur, and, according to foster mom, signs of a healing fractured arm. As well, this little girl could not support her own head until she was almost a year old. There are videos of her at over 9 months with her head flopping backwards and forwards. Why were these injuries not mentioned to your readers? They are not easily explained away. I ws told that the "accident" scenario changed a number of times until it ended in the story of today. It is a little difficult to measure for biomechanical evidence when the scenario keeps evolving. You mentioned Ron, that SBS hasn't been biomechanically scientifically tested (does that sound right?) - if anyone were to read what is involved in getting the data to provide valid scientific testing, they would discover that the test samples would have to be of living babies literally being shaken - slightly controversial - the public might have some difficulty with the way in which the scientific data was collected!

    With regards to your comments about the reports from the Baynes 10 "prominent" doctors (whom none,by the way, have ever met Bethany, there doesn't seem to be much support for them in the medical community - far, far less than the hundreds of thousands upon thousands of doctors, specialists, and therapists that support SBS. Regarding your comments about not being able to prosecute SBS in criminal court, this doesn't really surprise me - it is extremely difficult to gather evidence when the only witnesses are non-verbal, brain-damaged infants. With no one to tell, no wonder so few of the abusers come forward.

    MCFD may be looking at the Baynes as unsuitable, thereby considering permanent care, because the Baynes have not been able to present a story that would biomechanically explain ALL the injuries that that innocent, tiny baby sustained.

  5. We can keep this up I suppose but I don’t intend to do so. For me it is like writing another blog. I suppose you might say I have a responsibility to do so if I am going to write material to which readers take exception and address plausible arguments which I welcome. In fact the same dispute over conflicting information is what is transpiring in court throughout these weeks. That’s where a judge will need to determine which cache of information tells the story of Bethany Bayne’s injury. For this moment, I will make my attempt to honestly provide a conscientious response to the issues you have expressed.

    At the time of Bethany’s birth and at the time of the alleged falling incident, Baden weighed 26 lbs. A family doctor’s records at about the same time bear this out.

    The Baynes will admit today their own sense of responsibility in placing Bethany on the floor to the side of the room. I am told that Paul and Zabeth would not allow their son to feel badly about this event since they bear that responsibility. From what can be ascertained Baden is not aware of any information concerning the fall event. I am told that Paul and Zabeth will never assign blame to him nor, given all circumstances that can be reasonably foreseen, is it their intention ever to inform him.

    The correction about Bethany’s timing of birth was warranted. Further review reminded me that that Baden was three months early at birth and Bethany was born at 34 weeks.

  6. Perhaps you too should make sure of facts before statements that border on allegation. You say “Her mother, according to hospital records, checked out of the hospital 3 hours after Bethany's birth, and didn't return to see her new baby for days.” Where did you access such information? It sounds like you have an inside line to some source but it isn’t accurate. Actually, the hospital records disprove your statement? This has already been spoken to in court. The Hospital did not permit the Baynes to stay in the nursery. The Baynes could not afford a room. They also had two small boys to whom they needed to pay attention. They slept at home and spent the entire day as a family in the hospital for two weeks until Bethany came home. These facts were disclosed during a court session when Adrienne Glen was testifying. She is a retired social worker and member of the child protection unit of Children’s’ Hospital who was integrally involved with the Bayne case. I should add that when Baden was born prematurely as noted above, the Bayne parents daily spent three months with him in hospital until he could be released.

    It may be fair to say as you did that “Bethany went home a healthy baby,” but it is an incomplete assessment. There were concerns. Having been fed by tube, her weight was a concern. She had an allergy to milk and required Zabeth’s milk. To facilitate this purpose Langley Hospital had been negotiating with Children’s Hospital for Bethany’s transfer.

    As for the chemical imbalances and bone fragility that you questioned, I make reference to Dr. Barnes from Stanford University who reported that Bethany had rickets which he said was skeletally evident in several areas. Further, in today’s testimony and cross examination, Dr. Colbourne did not do a Vitamin D test for Bethany and that of course would have been vital to discovering the rickets condition. Is it also not true to say that all infants born before 36 weeks gestation have some indication of rickets or bone deficiency?

    As for Baden’s ostepenia (brittle bones) and your question as to why he didn’t then sustain injury when allegedly falling on Bethany, head to head, I cannot of course explain. I candidly say, I am glad for his sake and for the Baynes that this was so. But perhaps part of the explanation may be that Baden in his early months of life was successfully treated for his condition and his bones became healthy and strong. Further blood work has shown that there are no further deficiency issues.

    Today’s cross examination of Dr. John Plunkett, forensic and general pathologist by MCFD lawyer Finn Jensen provided a detailed explanation of many of these issues and questions. If you are able to attend court tomorrow (Tuesday) Loren Humeny (MCFD Social Worker) will be cross examined and of course Zabeth’s own testimony is upcoming and these can be informative.

  7. Ron, the vast resources that are conspiring to permanently deprive the Baynes of their children need not be augmented by the publication of the comments on your blog of these friends of the foster parents (unbiased, I just bet, hey?) who are presenting information which anyone can do research on and find is incorrect.

    I suggest you delete their comments as they are just more defamation of the Baynes. Shaken Baby Syndrome, by the way, has been discredited as junk science, despite the assertions of the friends of the foster parents. These people are taking up valuable space on your blog, and defaming the Baynes - do not be afraid to delete their comments, and if possible, ban them from your blog. The Baynes have suffered enough, and put up with enough propaganda, they don`t need to deal this rubbish as well. There are so few voices speaking for the Baynes, you don`t need to tarnish them with lies such as have been posted above by the foster parents or their friends (or MCFD workers, or whoever they are).

  8. CPS, I will take your advice under advisement

  9. I personally wont post again. I have brought up a few concerns which I know to be true. The point I am trying to get across to people is that no matter what kind of family, rich, poor, well known, not well known, educated and not educated,religous, non religous that child abuse is real and that it can happen in any family. The Baynes are not excluded from this. It isnt defamation of character, its 2 sides to a story of what happened to an innocent baby! Bethany will suffer for the rest of her life for what was done to her. There is so much more that will come in time through the trial and those of us that know whats coming are just waiting, for now the Bayne children are safe and loved and thats the best we (and I speak for a group of us) can hope for at this time.

  10. Tracy, I acknowledge that this is a difficult case with a mountain of complexities and that is why there are two sides to this case and it has come to a court of law where a judge will make a climactic decision. I don't believe there are two entirely right sides to the story however. You maintain that you are positioned on that right side based on information which you have learned and or formulated and you won't entertain the possibility that her injuries were accident event produced. I am convinced that the Baynes deserve to have their children returned and while I listen and read the data I keep coming to the same conclusion that not only is Bethany innocent, so are Paul and Zabeth. It is probably a good decision on your part not to write further here if there is a likelihood, as I suspect there is, that you may be called as a witness in this case.

  11. To the foster parent supporters.

    This is a child, that you claim to love and protect. This is a child that may have a complex health issue that may be fatal if not recognized and treated. This child, her siblings and her parents, both natural and foster all have a responsibility to ensure the health and safety of this child.
    This child should be referred to The Mayo Clinic under Dr. Piero Rinaldo or similar health institute and professional for a full work up. If this child has another fall or impact injury as children are prone to, it is foreseeable that another caregiver could be sitting in Paul and Zabeths shoes in the near future.

  12. I wont be called as a witness, we moved too far away, I would never be there before the trial was over. All I can do is follow the story this way. I dont understand how its Ok for you to come to a conclusion that the Baynes are innocent regarding information that you have gathered and its not Ok for me to question their innocence or to to believe they may not be innocent regarding what I know? I am not saying that MCFD doesnt make mistakes. They do make mistakes, the system needs an overhaul and I am sure most MCFD employees will agree. I have looked into the possibility of Bethanys injuries as an accident and there are many many reasons why I cannot accept that it was an accident. Just the same as you being a friend of the family have done your research and come to your conclusion that they are innocent.
    We have different opinions of what happened based on what we know as 2 different people being involved in this case in different ways. I suppose its best to just leave it at that.

  13. The truth will prevail, and it will be proven that the Baynes were defamed, and far worse.

  14. tracnlenplus10 - you said you weren't going to post again, but you did. People should be aware that they can be sued for defamation. Hiding behind an anonymous user name will not help whatsoever.

  15. It sounds so heated here. I don't believe there is any reason for blocking, defaming, insulting, or threatening ... I actually appreciate Ron's blogs and he has earned my respect because I can see his efforts to maintain an honest, as far as he possibly can, approach ... respecting and appreciating doesn't mean we have to agree, which Ron indicated himself. There is an honest amount of frustration that not all the facts are being presented and a lot of people only read one side ... personally, I hope to God the Baynes are not guilty ... I just have an extremely difficult time believing that all those injuries came from one small harmless fall ...

  16. CPS you sound so angry! I am not hiding behind an anonymous user name at all. And if you are so worried about that, how about you identify yourself? And what are you talking about defamation for? I never said anything other than my opinion on here and I am entitled to my opinion and to freedom of speech just the same as you are. My points are just as valid as anyone elses. I have looked at both sides of this tragic story since the very beginning. I have come to my conclusion based on my involvement and my experiences. I am wondering if you can say the same? Are you open minded enough to look at both sides?
    And Thanks febi11 thats how I feel too!!

  17. The reason I am anonymous is because everyone knows that Child Protective Services is big on retribution. That's why, for example, after the Baynes went public with their story, they had their two older children taken by MCFD. While they were at a birthday party. If that isn't vindictive, I don't know what is. So, I will be remaining anonymous, as I don't care to have my children targeted by them.

    tracnlenplus10 said...
    "CPS you sound so angry!"

    Actually, I'm outraged. Any normal person would be. This family, and these poor, defenceless, vulnerable children, have been absolutely terrorized by a government agency that claims to "protect."

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