Hospitalized twins' parents, grandmother arrested

Arrests represent dramatic turn in investigation, come after days of conflicting reports of cause of injuries.

By
January 24, 2012 23:20
2 minute read.
Newborn baby in hospital [illustrative]

Baby in hospital birth yawn 311. (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)

 
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Police arrested the parents and grandmother of four-month-old twins who were hospitalized last week with internal injuries on suspicion of shaking the babies.

The arrests Tuesday night represent a dramatic turn in the investigation, and come after days of conflicting media reports over what may have caused the injuries.

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The twins were rushed to Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer last week, where doctors are still battling to stabilize the condition of the baby boy, who is in critical condition. His twin sister is in moderate condition.

Doctors said at first they did not rule out the possibility the babies suffer from a genetic disease. But on Wednesday, the Safra Children’s Hospital at Tel Hashomer said a series of medical tests all pointed to the explanation the babies were shaken as the most likely cause of the injuries.

“I can confirm that they were arrested and are being questioned,” a Tel Aviv police spokesman said. “They will remain in custody at least until Wednesday morning.”

The arrests occurred at the hospital.

The parents have furiously denied allegations of abuse, and hired high-profile attorney Zion Amir to represent them.

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Amir released a statement following the arrest describing suspicions against his clients as “baseless.” He said the parents would continue to offer their full cooperation with police to assist the investigation in reaching the truth.

Shaken baby syndrome involves the shaking of the baby’s head and neck, and can cause serious brain damage, head fractures and broken ribs.

Most parents do not intend to harm infants, but rather to quiet them out of frustration over incessant crying.

Boys and girls are equally susceptible to the syndrome, which usually occurs during the first year of life, said Dr. Yitzhak Kadman, chairman of the National Council for the Child. The frustrated adult usually loses control after being unable to calm a baby. Kadman called on police this week to investigate the case involving the twins.

Two years ago, the council ran an informational campaign for parents and caregivers in Hebrew, Arabic and Russian, which will soon be translated into Amharic.

The council believes several dozen babies die every year due to shaken baby syndrome, and thousands of children suffer injuries.

Judy Siegel contributed to this report.

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