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Lowell General Hospital Spearheads Symposium on Shaken Baby Syndrome

Community Leaders from Middlesex and Essex County Collaborate on Prevention of Infant Injury and Death

September 30, 2009 - Lowell, Mass. - On Friday, September 25th, Lowell General Hospital hosted a major event for key community and public service agency leaders on the important topic of Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS), also known as Abusive Head Trauma (AHT).

The event brought together more than 100 key participants, including the Middlesex District Attorney Gerard T. Leone, Jr. and Senator Susan C. Tucker, local police and fire chiefs, EMS and healthcare leaders. The focus was improving case collaboration, communicating and prevention of SBS/AHT at the community level.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, AHT is the leading cause of non-accidental deaths in children under the age of two. Fragile brain tissue can be injured by acceleration/deceleration forces when an infant is shaken or slammed. The results can be neurological damage, severe life-long injuries, and/or death from bleeding, brain swelling and increased intracranial pressure.

"Concern for the welfare of our community extends beyond mandates and collaborating with the task force and developing this initiative with the District Attorney's office is a part of our responsibility to the health and wellbeing of our youngest patients, even after they leave our care," said Normand E. Deschene, president and chief executive officer of Lowell General Hospital. "By helping to ensure that every caregiver has the tools needed to safely handle and cope with the challenges of a newborn, we, together as a team, can prevent future tragedies in the communities we serve."

Evidence of in-hospital SBS programs, similar to that Lowell General is committed to, demonstrates effectiveness in preventing child injuries or death.

The symposium was created out of the hospital's collaboration with Middlesex District Attorney Gerald Leone's Shaken Baby Prevention Task Force - an alliance of health care providers, hospitals, and service agencies such as the Department of Social Services and Department of Public Health. The day-long event was co-sponsored by the hospital, Massachusetts Citizens for Children, Inc. and Trinity EMS.

In addition to District Attorney Leone, keynote addresses were presented by Jetta Bernier, executive director of Massachusetts Citizens for Children, Kate MacDougall, director of the Family Crimes and Sexual Assault Unit for Essex County, and Robert M. Reece, MD, clinical professor of pediatrics at Tufts University School of Medicine and director of the Child Protection Program at the Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center. Poignant addresses by families of victims provided insight into the effect of SBS/AHT on the family and personal perspectives.

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PHOTOS:

Director Essex County Family Crimes and Sexual Assault Unit, Kate MacDougall discusses prosecution challenges in Abusive Head Trauma/SBS cases

Kate McDougall & SBS PanelPictured to her left, Panel participants: R to L - Greg Hudon, Detective Lowell Police Dept; Tim Regan, Esq., EMT-P, Paramedic Greater Lowell EMS; Jonathon Drake, MD, Emergency Physician, Lowell General Hospital; Lauri Doti, RN, Emergency Nurse, Lowell General Hospital; Denis Pelland, LSW, Social Worker, Lowell General Hospital; Marian Ryan, Assistant District Attorney Middlesex County

 

MA State Senator Susan Tucker and Conference Chair Tina Santos, director maternal child health at Lowell General Hospital

Senator Susan Tucker & Tina Santos

 

 

 

 

 

Shannon Byron and Shawn, parents of injured SBS child, share their story at the SBS Conference

Shannon Byron & Shawn

 

 

 

 

 

Middlesex County District Attorney Gerry Leone

Gerry Leone

 

 

 

 

 

Jetta Bernier, Executive Director, Massachusetts Citizens for Children Jetta Bernier

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