Shaken baby suffered fractured skull and brain haemorrhage – Doctors

Doctors say ‘shaken’ baby suffered from several bruises, fractures and a brain haemorrhage; father denies grievously injuring daughter, says he panicked.

A 26-year-old father from Nadur has pleaded not guilty to grievously injuring his three-month old daughter.
A 26-year-old father from Nadur has pleaded not guilty to grievously injuring his three-month old daughter.

A three-month old girl who last week was in a critical condition due to internal bleeding and bruising, suffered a fractured skull and a brain haemorrhage after her father allegedly shook her, doctors told court today.

Doctors Simon Mifsud, Mariella Mangion, as well as Professor Simon Attard Montalto were summoned in court today to testify against a 26-year-old father from Nadur, Gozo.  The father, whose name has been banned by court order, is pleading not guilty to grievously injuring his daughter after doctors at Gozo General Hospital and Mater Dei Hospital informed the police of the girl’s injuries.

Taking the witness stand, Professor Simon Attard Montalto, explained to the court that the girl had several bruises on her shoulder, stomach, ribs, and forehead. A CT scan also discovered that the girl had a brain haemorrhage.

The injuries, which according to Profs Attard Montalto, could cause permanent damage to the girl, were compatible to a “very strong and violent shaking.”

On his part, Dr Simon Mifsud testified that the accused had told him that an hour before the girl was admitted to hospital, she was pale and short on breath.

Testifying before Magistrate Paul Coppini, Mifsud said that during the examination, the girl was not responding, while her pulse was very fast. Moreover, he said that he had noticed bruises on the girl’s shoulder, her ribs, and on her forehead. A CT scan had also discovered internal bleeding and fractures to her head.

Asked whether the injuries could have been caused by the accused’s shaking, Dr Mifsud said that one could not arrive at such conclusions at such an early stage of examination.

Presenting a copy of a CT scan showing the girl’s fractures, Dr Mariella Mangion told the court that she had found several bruises on the girl’s bodies, and also blood at the back of her eyes – which is one of the symptoms of a shaken baby.

The girl’s father is insisting that upon seeing his child having a fit, he panicked, and shook her. Moreover, the accused told the court that he had the child’s best interest at heart.

The incident was brought to light after medical officers at Mater Dei informed police of the girl’s injuries. Allegedly, the child’s mother, and the accused’s father also witnessed the girl having the fit.  

Inspectors Joseph Busuttil and Frank Tabone prosecuted, while lawyer Lucio Sciriha is representing the accused.