About a week ago, I wrote about something that really irritates me, namely that most despicable of antivaccine claims, which is that shaken baby syndrome is somehow a misdiagnosis for vaccine injury. It is a claim that, as far as I can recall, began when, for reasons that have continued to elude me more than a decade later, the antivaccine movement glommed onto the case of Alan Yurko, a man convicted of shaking his girlfriend’s baby to death, and tried to get him freed based on the claim that the baby had really died from encephalitis caused by vaccine injury. The claim was so ridiculous as to make one wonder why anyone would take it the least bit seriously, but some antivaccinationists hate vaccines so much that no contortion of the truth is too twisted. It’s an idea that appears to have originated with Australian antivaccinationist Veira Scheibner in the late 1990s.
To recap briefly, last week, I learned about another such case, which appeared on various antivaccine and “alternative health” websites, about “Baby A” (no names were given for the baby or her parents). This was a five month old baby who was vaccinated in September 2012 and died 22 days after receiving eight vaccinations (actually four vaccinations, as one of them was pentavalent. When the baby girl was admitted to the hospital, she was diagnosed with “bleeding on the brain” and multiple long bone fractures. The parents were then apparently arrested for child abuse and murder. An antivaccine “journalist” by the name of Christine England tried to represent this case as a grave injustice, with the brain injury likely due to vaccine injury. But what about the long bone fractures? On this, England is noticeably silent, mentioning only that “her mother explained that after her ordeal, Baby A was irritable, upset and had difficulty in settling. That the following day, she was unable to move her legs, which remained hard and swollen around the injection site for several days.” She also mentioned that her parents thought the nurse had administered the vaccines roughly, as though that would be likely to cause such a reaction.
One thing about this story that I mentioned at the time is that I doubted its authenticity. I couldn’t find any corroborating evidence that such an event ever happened. Every permutation of every search I could think of involving shaken baby syndrome, vaccines, and South Africa (where the incident happened) pulled up either nothing or verbatim versions of Christine England’s story published far and wide across the antivaccine crankosphere. Maybe the story wasn’t a big enough deal to make the news in South Africa, or maybe the story was one of those Internet phantoms that are almost impossible to verify or refute. I was stymied and was about to call BS on this story. Then I found this interview at a show called Fairdinkum Radio. There’s also a GoFundMe campaign designed to raise money for Baby A’s parents, and a Facebook page, Baby A’s Parents.
I listened to the interview, hoping to learn something new, but I didn’t. Not really, anyway. The interviewer started the interview by asking multiple questions designed to put the parents in the most sympathetic light possible. Christina England was included in the interview as well for tactical air support. When it came to the part about Baby A’s stay in the hospital and the parents describing how the doctors and medical staff didn’t treat them sympathetically. (Of course, the doctors had a hard time treating the parents sympathetically; they strongly suspected them of having shaken the baby.) The parents apparently “did some research” into vaccines and shaken baby syndrome, and, of course, they rapidly located the copious crank literature linking the two.
One thing that stood out to me is that the story seems to be different depending on the source. For instance, in England’s story, Baby A had “multiple fractures of the long bones.” In this interview, the only fracture that is mentioned is a broken leg. It is mentioned in England’s story that “that the pediatrician requested a biopsy to test the collagen for brittle bone disease,” and on the Facebook page we find this post by Baby A’s parents:
We are receiving so much of help from people and I would like to share something with you from a professional who contacted us yesterday
“… the pediatrician requested a biopsy to test the collagen for brittle bone disease”… For me this is a dead give away that pediatricians know all about the acute scorbut that vaccines are causing. The mechanism is that vitamin C is needed to neutralize the effect of the toxins in vaccines. Vitamin C is the major and essential substance for the creation of collagen, the building block of bones and blood vessels. These will break down as soon as the body starts taking out the vitamin C out of its own collagen…
The resulting hemorrhaging and broken bones look a lot like the results of child abuse. However, checking the baby’s blood and serum levels of histamine and vitamin C will show which is the correct conclusion.
Worldwide Western medicine and Big Pharma have committed to never ever allow that vaccines get linked to the major damage that in reality they are causing.
So we can come up with evidence of the disastrous causal links till we are blue in the face…
The answer is for parents to wake up to the fact that vaccinators are murderers. They massively need to learn to say NO to vaccines!
This is classic vaccine-shaken baby pseudoscience and quackery straight from another “luminary” of this particularly vile segment of the antivaccine movement, Harold Buttram. The use of this particular antivaccine canard by Baby A’s parents makes me think that they’ve been reading Medical Hypotheses.
Near the end of the interview with the parents, there is a prolonged exchange about the police supposedly telling the parents that the media want to hear the parents’ side of the story two or three days after Baby A’s death and then not contacting them for four months, at which point they were arrested for murder, abuse, and negligence. An autopsy is mentioned, but the results of that autopsy are not. The parents claim they were denied legal aid after they were arrested and that they had a lot of difficulty getting in contact with a lawyer. Naturally, there is also an element of conspiracy-mongering, with a claim that there are medical reports and X-rays missing. Overall, the whole story sounds rather strange and inconsistent. It also seems hard to believe that a story like this wouldn’t make the news in South Africa. Perhaps it was in one of the other languages common in South Africa, like Dutch or Afrikaans.
The final segment involves Christina England, who was apparently brought in to tell the audience that these sorts of stories of parents accused of shaken baby syndrome whose babies really suffered from “vaccine injury” misdiagnosed as shaken baby syndrome. The whole thing stinks to high heaven. Indeed, it’s starting to remind me of the Alan Yurko case, in which there was a coordinated campaign to blame his girlfriend’s baby’s death on vaccines rather than shaken baby syndrome called the Free Yurko campaign. What we appear to be seeing here is a birth of a “Free Baby A’s Parents” campaign modeled on the Free Yurko campaign of more than a decade ago.
Same as it ever was. Just as despicable as it ever was.
ADDENDUM: There is another interview. I haven’t listened to it yet. Maybe today while I’m working if I have time.