by Health Impact News/MedicalKidnap.com
An Idaho couple has been blindsided by an accusation of Shaken Baby Syndrome.
Michael and Chelsea Wolken had a date night and left their 5 month old baby in the care of a trusted babysitter. They knew something wasn’t right when they got baby Rylee home that night, but they never dreamed that her symptoms would be diagnosed days later as Shaken Baby Syndrome.
The Wolkens have more questions than answers about what happened to make their baby so sick, but one thing they say they are certain of – they didn’t shake their baby.
A Child Abuse Specialist pediatrician told police and Child Protection Services that the baby’s condition had to be caused by abuse, based on his interpretation of x-rays, despite the fact that there were no external signs of trauma, such as a neck injury, bruising, or history of violence in the parents.
Since the doctor has made this diagnosis, CPS has taken custody of Rylee and removed Chelsea’s other 4 children from the home.
And doctors have stopped looking for any other explanation.
A very sick baby is now living with strangers in foster care.
The Wolkens’ friend and advocate Serra Frank says:
The state is blaming the parents, and they’re saying that there’s no possible way it could be anything other than shaken baby syndrome, which [we] know that’s not true.
It makes me worried for baby Rylee, because if there’s something else going on they’re no longer looking for a cause. The babysitter is being questioned, but at this time, it appears that CPS believes that the parents hurt their baby. The parents report that their baby was fine when they dropped Rylee off at the babysitter’s home, but she was projectile vomiting and lethargic when they got her home.
Since the doctors have asserted that someone had to have hurt the baby, the couple is left with asking what happened to her while they were on their date night.
As we have reported many times, the science regarding Shaken Baby Syndrome is not at all settled, and there are many other possible explanations for the symptoms of SBS, including recent vaccinations.
On the evening of August 25, 2017, Chelsea and Michael took Rylee to the babysitter’s house on their way to their date night. Chelsea says that her baby acted completely normal before they dropped her off.
The babysitter was someone that Chelsea has known for 15 years. She had watched her children before, and she believed that the sitter was trustworthy.
During the course of the evening, Chelsea and the babysitter texted back and forth. When she asked how her baby was doing, the babysitter said that Rylee was doing fine.
Then, while the Wolkens were at the movies, the sitter called Michael’s phone instead of Chelsea’s. Chelsea later said that was “odd,” but she “didn’t think anything of it.”
Chelsea texted back asking what was going on, and the sitter told her that she just wanted a time frame as to when they would be back. They had only been gone for a couple of hours, and the movie wasn’t over yet. The sitter said then that Rylee was fussy and tired. She texted a photo of Rylee.
By the time the couple picked up Rylee, they had been gone a total of 5 hours. Chelsea reports that the babysitter:
rushed Rylee to her carseat instead of handing her to me. I thought that was even odder but chalked it up to her just helping us get ready to leave. She rushed her significant other to quit talking to my husband so we could leave. It took about a half hour for the Wolkens to get home. As they got the baby ready for bed, it quickly became apparent that something was wrong. Rylee was “projectile vomiting everywhere.”
Though Rylee is the couple’s first child together, Chelsea is the mother of 4 other children. As such, Chelsea has had some experience with stomach bugs, and that was what she assumed was going on.
The next morning, Chelsea said Rylee was “out of it and still not herself.” Besides vomiting and fussiness, she was also lethargic and had diminished appetite. The parents decided to give it 24 hours to see if it would resolve. It didn’t.
Parents Accused of Shaken Baby Syndrome with No Forensic Evidence – Only Medical Testimony
The following morning, Sunday, they took the baby to the local hospital. Doctors there told her that it was a gastric issue, and diagnosed pyloric stenosis. As her condition didn’t improve, doctors transferred her later that day to St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital in Boise, Idaho, for further care and evaluation.
The Wolkens were devastated when they learned that a doctor at St. Luke’s had a diagnosis for Rylee’s condition – Shaken Baby Syndrome. Dr. Matthew J. Cox determined that the baby had retinal hemorrhaging, bleeding outside of her brain, and fluid between the membranes. The doctor called in the sheriff’s department and Child Protection Services.
According to the investigational report from the Canyon County Sheriff’s office, a detective states:
Dr. Cox reported to me that from his training and experience these injuries are consistent with an intentional violent shaking or jerking or other intentional trauma. Family Destroyed with No Evidence of Wrongdoing
They had “the triad” of symptoms, and that was enough to rip the family apart, even though the officer admitted in his report:
At this time I have not been able to conclusively determine Chelsea or Michael did not cause, were not present, or did not have knowledge of how Rylee sustained her injury. Thus, even though the officer admitted that they didn’t know whether or not the parents had anything to do with Rylee’s condition, the baby and her siblings were still removed from the Wolkens’ custody. The report states:
Based on my ongoing investigation and possibility Rylee’s injury was sustained while in the care of Chelsea and/or Michael, I declared Rylee in imminent danger on 9/04/2017. As part of a “safety plan,” the other 4 children were removed from the home. CPS put this plan into place and it was not something that Chelsea agreed to. She is not allowed to contact her other children at this time.
Rylee remained in St. Luke’s hospital for two weeks under the custody of Child Protection Services. She had surgery to insert tubes in her head to drain excess fluid. She was discharged on Friday, September 14, to a foster home with strangers.
From having a date night to losing all of her children has been quite a shock to Chelsea, who wrote recently:
Having 5 kids ripped from our hands has been hard enough and a part of me dies each day they are away.Family Looking for Answers Because Doctors Are Not
During the course of events since they brought her home from the babysitter’s house, Chelsea and Michael have been trying to comprehend what was happening.
A series of text messages between the babysitter and Chelsea reveal an ongoing quest for answers.
The text conversation obtained by Health Impact News seems to paint a different picture than that shown in the sheriff’s report. The texts occurred over the weekend before the time of the Shaken Baby diagnosis by Dr. Cox.
In the beginning, when Rylee was vomiting, Chelsea wondered if the sitter tried giving the baby a different formula. That wasn’t it. There was discussion of another child in the family who had been sick recently and wondering if Rylee could have caught something.
The Canyon County Sheriff’s office received their initial report of possible abuse on Tuesday, August 29. They report interviewing the babysitter and her fiancé. During that interview, the sitter reported that the baby came to her house “exhibiting symptoms of paleness, lethargy, lack of appetite, crying, fussiness, exaggerated startle reflex, and inability to stay asleep.”
That report is inconsistent with the text conversation between Chelsea and the babysitter.
According to the texts, Chelsea asked the babysitter at about 7 pm how her baby was doing. She was told that Rylee was fine. It was about 3 hours later that the sitter called her husband’s phone. When Chelsea texted her, she said that the baby was fussy.
Chelsea told Health Impact News that she has been told that, with the symptoms that Rylee has, it can only be Shaken Baby Syndrome.
Entrenched Medical Dogma Increasingly Challenged
With the SBS diagnosis as a certainty, cases such as this become a matter of finger-pointing: doctors, police, and CPS place blame on the parents, while parents look to any other person who was with the baby.
Sometimes, parents are pitted against each other, while other times, it is parents versus caregiver.
In this case, it is longtime friends who have now been thrust into a situation where they question everything they once knew about each other.
However, just as music has trends, and the fashion industry has trends, the field of medicine has trends.
A current medical trend is to call any one of “the triad” of symptoms “Shaken Baby Syndrome.” The triad consistes of subdural hematoma or brain bleeding, retinal hemorrhaging, and brain swelling.
The term has become so entrenched that doctors, especially Child Abuse Specialist pediatricians, it appears, often diagnose SBS without looking for any other explanation, even in the absence of any other signs of abuse, such as a neck injury, bruising, or history of violence in the parents.
As we have reported many times before, there are many doctors and scientists questioning the “established science” of SBS.
Could there be another explanation for Rylee’s injuries? Could it be that no one, neither the parents nor the babysitter, is responsible for what happened to baby Rylee?
Other Evidence that Injuries Not Caused by Abuse
Consider Rylee’s birth. She was born prematurely, at 36 weeks. It is well established in the medical literature that prematurity is associated with a higher rate of brain bleeding, subdural hematoma, and retinal hemorrhaging than full-term birth.
Before she was born, her mother experienced pre-term labor as early as 5 months into her pregnancy. She was given medication to stop the contractions, but after 2 doses, Chelsea reports that her baby stopped moving. She stopped taking the medication out of fear that it would harm Rylee.
When she was born, she had breathing problems. Chelsea doesn’t know if her baby was administered oxygen, because the staff worked on the baby out of her line of sight.
She says that Rylee’s cry was weak after she was born. It is fairly standard protocol for newborns to have oxygen administered if they are having breathing problems. Oxygen is associated with a higher risk of retinal and brain hemorrhaging – a fact which, again, is well established in the medical literature.
As we recently reported, studies have shown that 1 in 4 normal full-term newborns have retinal hemorrhaging (Source), and 46% have some kind of brain bleeding (Source).
However, Dr. Steven Gabaeff, a clinical forensic physician, points out that:
Clinically, we know that crying, vomiting, or even normal handling have caused observable, often symptomatic episodic rebleeds (Source). It is logical that Rylee’s condition may not be related to any person shaking or abusing her.
On August 10, Rylee was vaccinated with “all of the typical 4 month shots,” including DTaP, Hep b, and Rotavirus. This was 15 days before her parents’ date night. According to VAERS as well as the package inserts of some vaccines, the same symptoms used to diagnose Shaken Baby Syndrome are also possible side effects of vaccines.
The family chiropractor saw Rylee the day before her parents’ date night, and gave her a clean bill of health. He wrote a letter stating that, on that date and the date of the previous visit, “there were no visible signs of bruising or trauma at that time.”
A couple of family members had been sick around the time that Rylee began vomiting. Her lethargy, lack of appetite, and vomiting could simply have been, as Chelsea originally suspected, a stomach virus.
The vomiting and crying, as Dr. Gabaeff asserts, could have triggered rebleeding in Rylee’s brain and eyes, in which her condition deteriorated rapidly.
There was no sign of bruising, no neck injury, and no other sign of abuse or a fall. None of the other children in the family have shown signs of being abused. Chelsea volunteered to take a drug test, which showed no signs of drugs.
Could the Wolkens, and their babysitter, be victims of junk science, while the doctors who are supposed to care for their patients stop looking for the real cause of her symptoms because they have blamed the parents for a crime? Because of the accusation by the Child Abuse Specialist, longtime friends are forced into a situation where they are pitted against each other.
At this time, there is no evidence that any particular person hurt Rylee. There are no witnesses, only accusations based on an entrenched theory in medical practice, a theory that is being increasingly challenged.
Child Abuse Specialist: Abuse Must be Found to Justify New Pediatric Speciality
Dr. Matthew J. Cox is the doctor who told the police that, in his experience, these symptoms are seen with “intentional violent shaking or jerking or other intentional trauma.”
He has a great deal of experience in the field of Child Abuse Pediatrics. As we have previously reported, this field is a relatively new certification. The American Academy of Pediatrics first began board certification of this specialty in 2010. Doctors in this field are trained in looking for abuse.
They are not neurologists or orthopedists or radiologists, and we have found many instances where specialists who are specifically trained in these fields refute the findings of the Child Abuse Specialists.
A problem arises when judges, especially family court judges, who work closely with Child Protective Services to condemn parents based sometimes exclusively on the testimony of a Child Abuse Specialist, all the while ignoring other medical reports from other specialists and medical experts.
We have seen cases where parents had up to a dozen reports from medical experts asserting that the child suffered from a real medical condition that was not abuse; yet, the judge either never heard the evidence or chose to ignore it, in favor of the testimony of a Child Abuse Specialist – a doctor whose livelihood is based in finding abuse, whether or not it actually exists.
When parents are accused of child abuse outside of family court in criminal cases, judges across the country are throwing out convictions or demanding new trials if parents or caregivers were convicted solely based on medical testimony in favor of Shaken Baby Syndrome.
If other medical or scientific evidence is not presented, it is generally believed in civil courts today that the parents or caregivers did not receive a fair trial, and most district attorneys are not willing to retry these cases.
This has been such a widespread problem, that judges, lawschools, and even the American Bar Association are now training attorneys on how to fight back against Shaken Baby Syndrome charges in court.
In what many people call the Family “Kangaroo” Court system, however, criminal charges against the parents or caregivers are not necessary in order to take a child out of a home. The single testimony of a Child Abuse Specialist, who often simply looks at x-rays and never even bothers to interview the parents or family pediatrician, is enough to award the custody of a child to the State, where that child then represents a significant amount of revenue through federal and state funding.
Dr. Matthew J. Cox: Trained Child Abuse Specialist
Dr. Cox is well versed in Child Abuse politics and policy, even when it contradicts hard science. He is board certified in Pediatrics and Child Abuse Pediatrics.
He attended medical school at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston. He did his residency at Vanderbilt, the hospital that medically kidnapped the Turner children (story), the Seagraves’ children (story), the Miller children (story), the Evans children (story) and Baby Steffen (story).
Dr. Cox then did a fellowship in Child Abuse and Neglect at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia, the hospital responsible for seizing the Battiato boys (story). From there, he became the co-director of the REACH program, Referral and Evaluation of At Risk Children, in Dallas, Texas.
He is currently the Medical Director of CARES – Children at Risk Evaluation Services – at St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital. According to his bio on the hospital website:
His primary practice involves the medical evaluation of children suspected of being victims of possible physical abuse, sexual abuse, or neglect. In his quest to protect children from child abuse, has he fallen into a practice which possibly causes even more harm to children: that of accusing innocent parents of abuse?
Once children are taken away from families that love them, they are subjected to at least a 6 times greater risk of being abused, molested, raped, or killed in foster care. The very act of being separated from their parents can cause irreparable harm to growing children, and is, in itself, abuse.
One of the family’s advocates, Serra Frank, has expressed fear that the hospital may decide to use Rylee for experimentation, because children who are wards of the state may legally be used in drug testing or medical research without their parents’ knowledge or consent.
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