August 15th, 2008
02:25 PM ET

Shaken baby tragedy

By Dr. Sanjay Gupta
CNN Chief Medical Correspondent

A few years ago, a woman called me in the middle of the night to tell me her son-in-law had been taken to jail. This was a woman I knew pretty well, and I was stunned to hear the story she proceeded to tell me. Her grandchild (his daughter) had been found unconscious at the house and taken to the hospital. Doctors there quickly figured out the child had been shaken. Just a few months old, her little neck muscles had not been strong enough to stabilize her head, which in young children is relatively bigger with respect to their bodies. She developed a blood collection on her brain and shearing of small blood vessels deep inside. Ultimately, she never recovered; she died in her mother’s arms. The little girl’s dad had been the only one in the home and subsequently admitted to handling the child in a rough manner when she was persistently crying.

In a moment of anger, he had killed his child and essentially sentenced himself to imprisonment. As a dad, I can’t imagine the incredible grief he is still suffering today, so many years later. As a neurosurgeon, I have seen this story play out more times than I care to remember.

It is of little value to say that he didn’t mean it. He is a good man who made a terrible mistake. It did make me wonder, though, just how much are young parents equipped to be able to deal with babies and very young children. Most parents are shocked when I tell them the consequences of shaking a baby or handling the child in a rough manner. Add in a little immaturity, lack of necessary patience, and you literally have a prescription for disaster.

As you can read today (link to story), there are some relatively simple ways to prevent a fatal mistake. But, should we be doing more?

There are no instruction manuals when it comes to children, as there are with most other things in life.

Should there be a sort of “manual” and what sort of things should be in it? What would you put in a manual that goes home with new parents?

Editor's Note: Medical news is a popular but sensitive subject rooted in science. We receive many comments on this blog each day; not all are posted. Our hope is that much will be learned from the sharing of useful information and personal experiences based on the medical and health topics of the blog. We encourage you to focus your comments on those medical and health topics and we appreciate your input. Thank you for your participation.

« Previous entry
soundoff (1,260 Responses)
  1. Seo Marketing Ideas


    May 18, 2021 at 23:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. energy and focus pills


    May 19, 2021 at 00:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Free Vision Exam Near Me


    May 19, 2021 at 00:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Maserati Videos


    May 19, 2021 at 01:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Contacts Lenses Near Me

    This website really has all of the information I wanted concerning this subject and didn’t know who to ask.


    May 19, 2021 at 04:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Maserati Cambriocorsa


    May 19, 2021 at 05:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Maserati Granturismo Reliability


    May 19, 2021 at 05:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Prescription Glasses Near Me

    Excellent web site you have got here.. It’s difficult to find quality writing like yours nowadays. I really appreciate people like you! Take care!!


    May 19, 2021 at 08:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Local Marketing Jobs Near Me


    May 19, 2021 at 09:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Banner Store Near Me

    I have to thank you for the efforts you have put in penning this website. I'm hoping to check out the same high-grade content from you later on as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my own, personal site now 😉


    May 19, 2021 at 10:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Clemencia Schenkel

    I'm just having this crazy idea, I'm planning to post comic pages or strips on Blogger, since its generating revenue from Google Adsense, I might profit from this, hehe (me gloating like an alien Ferengi). Will this idea work?.


    May 19, 2021 at 11:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Pool Plastering Company

    May I just say what a relief to uncover an individual who really understands what they're talking about over the internet. You actually understand how to bring a problem to light and make it important. A lot more people really need to check this out and understand this side of your story. I can't believe you aren't more popular because you most certainly possess the gift.


    May 19, 2021 at 12:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. RV Upgrades California

    An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a friend who was conducting a little homework on this. And he actually ordered me breakfast simply because I discovered it for him... lol. So let me reword this.... Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending the time to discuss this subject here on your website.


    May 19, 2021 at 13:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. rv body shop near me

    You need to be a part of a contest for one of the greatest sites on the net. I will highly recommend this website!


    May 19, 2021 at 15:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. RV Cabinet Orange County

    I blog quite often and I truly thank you for your information. Your article has really peaked my interest. I will take a note of your website and keep checking for new details about once a week. I subscribed to your RSS feed as well.


    May 19, 2021 at 20:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. travel trailer floor repair videos


    May 20, 2021 at 00:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Digital Marketing Services

    Excellent site you have here.. It’s hard to find quality writing like yours nowadays. I honestly appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!


    May 20, 2021 at 00:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Google Marketing Experts


    May 20, 2021 at 01:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Social Media Marketing Specialist Near Me

    Having read this I believed it was very enlightening. I appreciate you taking the time and effort to put this content together. I once again find myself personally spending a lot of time both reading and posting comments. But so what, it was still worth it!


    May 20, 2021 at 03:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Social Media Marketing Consultant

    Hello there, I do believe your blog could possibly be having browser compatibility issues. Whenever I take a look at your blog in Safari, it looks fine however, if opening in I.E., it's got some overlapping issues. I simply wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Besides that, excellent website!


    May 20, 2021 at 04:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Video Marketing Consultants

    Hello! I just wish to give you a huge thumbs up for the great info you've got right here on this post. I am coming back to your site for more soon.


    May 20, 2021 at 04:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Local Marketing Agency


    May 20, 2021 at 04:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Internet Marketing Service Near Me


    May 20, 2021 at 05:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Google Marketing Consultant

    I like it when people come together and share thoughts. Great website, continue the good work!


    May 20, 2021 at 07:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Local Marketing Business


    May 20, 2021 at 07:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Social Media Marketing Near Me

    I blog quite often and I genuinely appreciate your content. This article has really peaked my interest. I'm going to book mark your website and keep checking for new details about once a week. I subscribed to your RSS feed as well.


    May 20, 2021 at 11:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Local Marketing Companies Near Me


    May 20, 2021 at 11:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. truck and trailer repair shops near me


    May 20, 2021 at 14:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. RV Cabinet Near Me


    May 20, 2021 at 16:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. paint shops near me

    Great web site you have got here.. It’s difficult to find high quality writing like yours these days. I honestly appreciate people like you! Take care!!


    May 20, 2021 at 16:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. riverside collision provo


    May 20, 2021 at 17:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. RV Mechanics Orange County

    Greetings! Very useful advice within this post! It is the little changes that make the biggest changes. Many thanks for sharing!


    May 20, 2021 at 18:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. i repair near me


    May 20, 2021 at 19:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Mercedes Sprinter Service Center Near Me

    Hello, I think your web site might be having internet browser compatibility issues. When I take a look at your blog in Safari, it looks fine however, if opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping issues. I just wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Aside from that, fantastic site!


    May 20, 2021 at 19:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Internet Marketing Service Near Me


    May 20, 2021 at 19:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. appliance store orange county ca


    May 20, 2021 at 23:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. RV Wraps Los Angeles


    May 20, 2021 at 23:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. RV Refrigerator Orange County

    Hi, I do think this is a great blog. I stumbledupon it 😉 I may revisit once again since i have bookmarked it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide others.


    May 21, 2021 at 00:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. chloroquineorigin

    cloroquine https://chloroquineorigin.com/ – tendances du coronavirus – france chloroquine phosphate tablets cloroquina hydroxychloroquin

    May 21, 2021 at 04:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. chloroquineorigin

    malaraquin aralen chloroquine phosphate chloroquine tablets https://chloroquineorigin.com/

    May 21, 2021 at 09:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. horse trailer remodel

    This is a topic which is close to my heart... Cheers! Where are your contact details though?


    May 21, 2021 at 12:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. chloroquineorigin

    nivaquine hydroxychloroquine where to buy aralen hydroxychloroquin https://chloroquineorigin.com/

    May 21, 2021 at 13:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Content Marketing Specialist

    Nice post. I learn something new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon on a daily basis. It's always interesting to read content from other writers and use something from their web sites.


    May 21, 2021 at 14:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. RV Solar Panels Systems Near Me


    May 21, 2021 at 14:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. RV Remodel California

    Excellent article. I definitely love this site. Thanks!


    May 21, 2021 at 16:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Internet Marketing Companies


    May 21, 2021 at 16:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. RV Countertops Near Me


    May 21, 2021 at 16:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. horse trailer air conditioner

    I want to to thank you for this excellent read!! I certainly enjoyed every bit of it. I have got you bookmarked to look at new stuff you post…


    May 21, 2021 at 16:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. RV Wraps Riverside

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you writing this post and the rest of the site is also very good.


    May 21, 2021 at 19:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. trailer repair places near me


    May 21, 2021 at 20:52 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26

Leave a Reply to reading head start


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

« Previous entry
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.