Twins with fractures may be victims of shaken-baby syndrome

Police, twins' parents deny a criminal investigation is underway; physicians don't rule out genetic disease.

Baby in hospital birth yawn 311 (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Baby in hospital birth yawn 311
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
The National Council of the Child called on police to investigate whether the twins hospitalized at Sheba Medical Center with bone fractures last week were victims of “shaken baby” syndrome. Meanwhile, the police and the twins’ parents deny a criminal investigation is underway.
The four-month-old twins, a boy and girl, were rushed to the hospital on Wednesday night with internal injuries. At the time, Prof. Gidi Porat, director of Intensive Care at the Tel Hashomer Medical Center, said they did not rule out the possibility that the babies suffer from a genetic disease.
Shaken baby syndrome is an intermediate condition between an accident and physical abuse of children.
The shaking of the head and neck can cause serious brain damage, head fractures and broken ribs. Most parents, or other adults, do not intend to harm infants, rather quiet them out of frustration over the 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 council. The frustrated adult usually loses control after being unable to calm babies.
Until recently, said Kadman, there has been little awareness of shaken-baby syndrome.
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.
Every year, some 650 babies die before their first birthday. Of these, 150 were of unknown causes.
The council believes that several dozen died due to shaken baby syndrome and that thousands of children suffer from such damage that often is revealed years after it occurs.