Tuesday, March 26, 2013

When it won’t stop

I don’t know anybody that can bear the uncontrollable crying of a baby. When the crying doesn’t stop, frustration, stress and anger are added to a sense of feeling trapped. How do you make it stop?

Crying babies are what trigger most events of inflicted brain trauma or shaken baby syndrome. 65% to 90% of offenders are males. Usually the father or mother's boyfriend. The men are usually in their early twenties.

Most of the children that are victims of shaken baby syndrome are boys and live in families that are at or below the poverty line.

Inflicted brain trauma is caused by direct blows to the head, dropping or throwing a child, and shaking a child.

Head trauma is the leading cause of death in child abuse cases in the United States.

The majority of victims of shaken baby syndrome are under a year old. They average from 3 to 8 months old.

At first, when someone resorts to shaking a baby to get her to stop crying, she cries more. But then stops as her brain is damaged from the violent shaking motion.

The force of shaking a baby causes the child's head to rotate uncontrollably on the neck because neck and shoulder muscles are not developed enough to provide any kind of support. Violent jerking motions make the brain pitch back and forth inside the skull bursting blood vessels and tearing brain tissue.

After the shaking stops, the brain swells compressing the injured tissue and damaged blood vessels further.

Here are some effects:

  • partial or total blindness
  • hearing loss
  • seizures
  • developmental delays
  • impaired intellect
  • speech and learning difficulties
  • problems with memory and attention
  • severe mental retardation
  • cerebral palsy

Sometimes a child that has been shaken looks normal. Symptoms may not be evident until the child enters school system where behavioral issues or learning disabilities become more observable by teachers and other learning professionals.

Development and education are hindered severely in the child that has most of the symptoms on the list. Language, vision, balance, motor skills, and coordination are all affected in a brain injured child. Intense physical and occupational therapy are required to help the affected child develop normal skills.

SBS is often fatal and causes sever brain damage and lifelong disabilities. My daughter is effected by most of the symptoms on the list. She has her hearing and does not have sever mental retardation.

I had a conversation with a friend the other day that asked me if I was, as a Christian, willing to extend forgiveness to the violent offender who inflicted shaken baby syndrome on her.

I’ve written about forgiveness in several places here. I admit that forgiveness has become a concept I can barely grasp. Allie has a lifelong disability and the one who did this to her is all ready out on the street and has most of his life back.

I’ll be honest with you. Sometimes I daydream about violence and vengeance. Other times I pray for this person and ask God to work in his life. I can’t imagine being him. He lives with the knowledge that he destroyed a little girl’s entire life. How do you come back from that?

Forgiveness from me would be a small thing, I think. I wonder how much it would really change things for the guy. With God all things are possible. This knowledge is the only thing that can make things better for the guy and this is something I want for the guy mainly because I can’t imagine what it would be like to live without hope.

Forgiveness is the only way to get to hope. You want it? Do something about it.

1 comment:

Mike West said...

Interesting but sad article. There's something about the term "Shaken Baby Syndrome" that doesn't seem quite right. It seems like it should be called for what it is - assault or attempted murder. Maybe they do call it that in the court system? The innocence of the child makes the crime even more heinous. The forgiveness part of this is something that I would think takes time - God's time. Thanks again for posting.