Parents given apology over their baby’s death

July 17, 2009


A FIVE-MONTH-old baby who died at a Dublin hospital two years ago in what doctors suspected to be a case of shaken baby syndrome was found to have died of natural causes by the Dublin City Coroner’s Court yesterday.

The parents were given an apology by a senior doctor at the hospital.

The coroner’s court heard that Rebecca Whyte died of a rare form of brain haemorrhage, the symptoms of which were in keeping with those associated with shaken baby syndrome.

Rebecca Whyte, Springdale Road, Raheny, Dublin, was admitted to Temple Street Children’s Hospital on August 26th, 2007. She died at the hospital on August 28th. State Pathologist Prof Marie Cassidy carried out a postmortem examination on August 29th.

Prof Cassidy told the court that the baby appeared well-cared for and well nourished. She found no evidence of injury to the head or other trauma to the infant.

Prof Cassidy told the coroner’s court that the haemorrhage in this case was “far more significant” than would normally be expected in a case of shaken baby syndrome. She said the post-mortem findings were not consistent with shaken baby syndrome and concluded that there may have been an underlying abnormality in this case.

Dr Francesca Brett, consultant neuropathologist at Beaumont Hospital, said the death occurred due to an underlying vascular malformation.

The baby’s father Mark Whyte told the coroner’s court that Rebecca had been “her usual happy self” in the week leading up to her admittance into hospital.

The family had spent the week on holidays in Galway with members of their extended family.

However, after they returned to Dublin on August 26th, Rebecca refused to take her bottle and began to scream. At about 9.30pm, she had “a fit of some sort”. Her parents rang for an ambulance and she was brought to Temple Street Children’s Hospital where she was admitted with queried meningitis.

The inquest heard that the baby had a number of seizures while in hospital. A cranial ultrasound and a lumber puncture were carried out on her.


Comment from Leslie –
At last the information on SBS is getting out to the public.  But at what cost and damage to the parent’s involved?


Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.