Evidence 101

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Monday, February 16, 2015

Perpetuating A Myth

Infant deaths are again in the news, especially becoming a focus for Indiana government. Well, at least they claim it is on the forefront to address with law enforcement, family services, and health and medical professionals.

I often browse news releases on these types of cases because they pique my curiosity. Once a cop, always a cop.

Comments in social news feeds still, after all these years, continue to amaze me as to how many people still do not understand how a baby works in its environment. I know that statement sounds crass and depersonalized. Babies are probably what make all of us crumble with their cuteness.

Some declarations:

1) SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) does not exist. This was announced to the world in the early 2000's. Almost ALL deaths can be determined. Very few will have an undetermined status.

2) Parents and society are still uneducated which was supposed to be on the forefront of the CDC's agenda in 2005. Yet, years later, several states have high infant mortality rates, lack educational materials or service, and agencies still do not work together.

3) States with economic problems will suffer the highest rates.

How does the United States tackle this problem? I have some solutions. Yes, no one is listening. It is OK, I just like to share. It's a gift.

1)SIDS does not exist because there is no such thing as a mysterious phenomena or syndrome or disorder which zaps the life out of our infants. Manner of death (in consistent reporting requirements) can be determined:

Natural. • Accident. • Suicide. • Homicide. • Undetermined. • Pending

I will give examples of each:

Natural: illness, disease
Accident: positional asphyxiation, re-breathing
Suicide: self-inflicted-not possible with infant (under 1 year of age) deaths
Homicide: murder
Undetermined: not enough information or evidence to make a conclusion
Pending: notification not yet entered or investigation not concluded

2)Educational awareness began with a big surge of public information and then the information waned off and is now included only through medical facilities, OB/BYN floors, and the Back to Sleep program.

The way an infant case was investigated was changed and reevaluated. This began with years of study in the 1980's and a wave of training in the 2000's. Many states have not jumped on this bandwagon and refuse to work with other agencies or refuse to adopt CDC's reporting method and investigation procedures.

Free training is available, but not sought.

Several law enforcement agencies have not adopted team investigation styles nor allowed for multi-jurisdictional investigations.

Investigation methods and reporting have not included the CDC SUIDI report form in infant death investigations.

Infant death is such a tragedy and often investigators do not know how to address it with parents.

Who likes to tell the parents a child's death was an accident and preventable? No one. So lets just call it "SIDS" and soften it all up. Yet, that does not help parents get answers nor does it let society prevent future deaths.

3) Economic hardships, multi-family cohabitation, and living environments all effect infant mortality. That is a scientific fact, not a guess. I could explain in more detail, but that would be lengthy.

Here are some things I still see...parents who are told cause and manner of death, put SIDS in the obituary because anything else is too hard to see in print. Even though I understand why they do this, it portrays SIDS as alive and scary. People still believe it exists because it is perpetuated. Perhaps, they should just say "passed unexpectedly." Friends and family will know what happened. No one can control those things but it is just an observation.

Public service information is slight to nil. I used to see commercials, news stories, etc. It's like it all dried up. This is something which isn't going to be fixed ever and if the numbers are going to drop, education is the key both to the public and law enforcement. Acceptance of medical assistance from the CDC is something investigators are going to have to embrace in order to reverse the problems, or at least lessen them. Communities need to come together to educate each other. It takes a village.





3 comments:

GunDiva said...

I have a slightly different take on SIDS. Remember back when it was called "crib death"? It was tragic, yes, but people accepted it and tried to move on. We introduce SIDS and the name says its a syndrome, so we should have a prevention, right? Sadly, we'll never be able to prevent some infant deaths. Instead, it's become a multi-million dollar industry that preys on the fear of parents.

Old NFO said...

Whatever you call it, it IS devastating to the parents. One of my fellow officers and his wife lost a baby that way. It absolutely destroyed them.

MrGarabaldi said...

When my son was born, he was born early 7 weeks early and born sick...They had him in a medical induced coma for a week and had him pumped full of antibiotics to help heal a rampant lung infection. When he finally came home, I would sat for hours in the rocker listening to my son breath, in and out, in and out...and I had my EBR with me, if the angel of death came for my son, he would have to come through me first( Silly I know.)..but that is what I did. Now he is 12 years old and doing well. Part of me chuckles at that memory and part of me shudders.....