Abuse of Child Abuse Laws

C. Alan B. Clemetson, M.D., and Susan D. Macafee

Parents, nannies and baby sitters are being falsely accused and incarcerated for infant deaths caused by the "shaken baby syndrome." A majority of these people are totally innocent of the charges. The "shaken baby syndrome" in theory is usually produced by the excessive shaking of the baby or child resulting in death. The accusations have now reached epidemic proportions throughout the English-speaking world – in Britain, Canada, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand.

Medical examination of the "shaken baby syndrome" shows hemorrhage on the brain beneath the skull and small, pinpoint hemorrhages in the retinas at the backs of the eyes. These medical findings, including the discovery of broken bones set off the alarm bell for many physicians. Medical professionals have been taught these medical findings indicate the "shaken-baby syndrome", and the diagnosis of NAI, or non-accidental injury. Subdural hemorrhage in an infant has been observed by ultrasound examination in the womb of a mother before labor, and also in newborn infants as a result of the birthing process. When a subdural hemorrhage is discovered in a child that has died at two or three months of age, the conclusion of this medical finding is usually considered murder. Diagnostic consideration is usually given to the possibility of other diseases such as hemorrhagic disease of the newborn, due to liver disease or vitamin K1 deficiency However, when no abnormality of blood coagulation is found in the infant, the physicians conclude, even before the autopsy, that it must be the "shaken baby syndrome."

Barlow's disease or infantile scurvy is overlooked and not pursued by law enforcement agencies and medical professionals as a possible cause of the child's death and the "shaken baby syndrome." Health officials do not want to believe or recognize that a vitamin C deficiency could possibly occur today or be responsible for these deaths. Routine laboratory examinations of blood plasma ascorbic acid or whole blood histamine are not preformed to determine Barlow's disease, as very few laboratories are adequately equipped and trained to carry out such analyses.

Barlow's disease was a well-recognized condition in the first 75 years of the 20th century resulting from bottle-feeding infants a milk diet. This was the case especially in impoverished families who did not know the need – or could not afford – to buy orange juice, to be given as a supplement to the bottled-milk diet. Barlow's disease also occurred in the children of more affluent families, who boiled milk to destroy all tuberculosis bacteria and thus also destroyed the vitamin C. Another common cause of infantile vitamin C deficiency is the excessive vomiting of the mother during pregnancy, as this condition rapidly depletes the blood vitamin C levels in both mother and child. Infections are another cause of depleted vitamin C levels, and even the common cold can deplete the white blood cell vitamin C level by one half with in 24 hours.

Today, apple juice is given to infants as a supplement instead of orange juice; there is only 1 mg of vitamin C in 3-1/4 fluid ounces of apple juice, as compared with 49 mg of vitamin C in the same volume of orange juice. Parents need to purchase apple juice supplemented with vitamin C to compensate for this depletion, also orange juice needs to be supplemented with vitamin C due to the loss during the pasteurization process. The shelf life of the vitamin C contained in the orange and apple juice is one month, and needs to be consumed in a timely manner.

Vitamin C depletion increases blood histamine levels causing capillary fragility. Histamine intoxication due to infections or vaccinations needs to be considered as a possible contributor to the "shaken baby syndrome" and infant deaths. The accumulation of histamine in the blood is particularly significant, as so many of these sudden deaths occur in sick infants within a few days or weeks after vaccination. Many infants at eight weeks of age are getting as many as six vaccines at once; we must consider the sum-total effect of all these vaccines, which increase blood histamine levels.

Blood coagulation studies will not rule out bleeding due to Barlow's disease, as the blood clotting mechanism is entirely normal in scurvy. The bleeding of scurvy is due to a weakness or fragility of the capillaries and small veins, resulting from a very high blood histamine level. Such a weakness in the walls of the bridging veins between the brain and the skull can cause bleeding on the brain, even with the very gentlest of handling.

Law enforcement agencies and the medical profession will not be able to determine a correct cause or the underlying condition of the "shaken baby syndrome" and infant deaths until plasma vitamin C and whole blood histamine levels are studied before and at different intervals after vaccinations. Some infants die 10 to 20 days after multiple inoculations, and it is very difficult to determine whether there is a causal relationship in such cases.

All animal studies since 1933 have shown that vitamin C markedly reduces the morbidity and mortality following the injection of all the vaccines studied. Dr. Archie Kalokerinos, studying Aborigine children in Australia, discovered in 1967 that he could prevent infant deaths following the usual vaccinations, by giving the children vitamin C beforehand. I can only conclude that most physicians are unaware of this most important and encouraging literature. If they were familiar with it, they would surely advise vitamin C to be given before all vaccinations.

I am all in favor of vaccinations, but I do not think they should be given to children when they are ill, and I do not think too many vaccines should be given all at once. Also, no one should ever be accused of or indicted for inflicting "shaken-baby syndrome" or an infant death, unless analyses for plasma ascorbic acid and blood histamine have been performed and can be placed in evidence.

Anyone wishing to read the detailed observations, upon which this article is based, may refer to the published article "Is It "Shaken Baby" or Barlow's Disease Variant?" in The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons 2004; 9:78-80.

C.A.B. Clemetson, M.D., (31 October 1923 – 30 August 2006) Professor Emeritus, Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA

Susan D. Macafee is a contributing writer and editor.

Learn about Dr. Alan Clemetson.

C. Alan B. Clemetson, M.D., F.R.C.O.G., F.R.C.S. (C), F.A.C.O.G. CURRICULUM VITAE

Charles Alan Blake Clemetson – Obituary – Michael Innis and F Edward Yazbak, British Medical Journal 2007 Jun 23; 334(7607): 1327. NCBI, NLM, NIH 10.1136/bmj.39245.750637.BE

Additional medical papers published by Dr. Clemetson concerning the Shaken Baby Syndrome, Barlow's disease, vitamin C/ascorbic acid, histamine, and scurvy.