Judge May Decide Fate Of Injured Infant
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
April 15, 2004
AKRON, OHIO--A judge may decide Friday whether a 5-month-old boy, diagnosed with shaken baby syndrome, will live or die.
Matthew Stein and Arica Heimlich, both 21, are fighting to keep their infant son, Aiden, alive.
Physicians at Akron Children's Hospital claim that the infant is "brain dead" and recommend his ventilator and feeding tubes be removed so he will die.
The physicians argue that the parents cannot act in the baby's best interest because the father may have injured the child. If Aiden dies, Matthew Stein could be charged with his son's murder.
Attorney Edward Markovich, who represents the parents, argued at a hearing Wednesday that the couple has not been charged with any crime and has not been declared unfit.
"Now they are accused by a medical institution as if they were guilty of an injury to their child," Markovich said.
Dr. John Pope, a pediatric trauma specialist at the hospital, said Aiden would remain blind, deaf and unaware of his surroundings if allowed to live. Pope said the boy should be removed from life support.
Aiden has been hospitalized since March 15.
Mr. Stein testified that he accidentally bumped his son's head on the rail of a bassinet. He also said that a maternal aunt may have held Aiden too high over her head, causing the boy to be struck by a ceiling fan.
Pope testified that Aiden's injuries were caused by a rapid back-and-forth movement which led to massive bleeding in the brain. He said the injuries could only have been caused by shaking, a traumatic car accident, or a fall from 10 feet.
The child is in the temporary emergency custody of the Richland County Children Services Board.
Hospital, parents vie for baby's fate (Akron Beacon Journal)