Friday, September 25, 2009

A caution on rushing to conclusions

A decade ago many poor parents were accused of killing their young babies by shaking them to death. This was called the "Shaken Baby Syndrome." There is now evidence that many parents found guilty may in fact be innocent.

A Shake to the System reports:

In January 2008, a Wisconsin appeals court granted a new trial to Audrey Edmunds, a 45-year-old woman who had been sentenced in 1995 to 18 years in prison for murdering Natalie Beard, an infant in her care. The ruling was significant, because medical experts said Beard died as a result of Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS), a diagnosis that grew increasingly common in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The Wisconsin appellate court was the first in the country to recognize increasing doubts about the reliability of SBS diagnoses.

My heart goes out to the parents who were hit with a double whammy of first losing their child, and then being unfairly condemned by society.

This is a great reminder that we need to be cautious about getting caught up in hysteria and rushing to verdicts.

(Hat tip: Hacker News)

Technorati tags: Shaken, Baby, Syndrome


Charity said...

That story is tragic. I just found this story about the woman convicted. She had three young daughters, one not even a year old at the time, who grew up without a mother. So sad.

Henry Cate said...

That is a sad story. Wow!