Dr Waney Squier
Dr. Squier Wins Appeal but Banned from Telling the Truth in Court about Shaken Baby Syndrome
November 14, 2016
“…any professional who is prepared to speak the truth and go against the medical establishment in a shaken baby case should also be prepared to lose their career as a consequence.”
by Christina England
Health Impact News
Dr. Waney Squier Wins Her Appeal but Banned from Telling the Truth in Court
In March 2016, after being publicly humiliated and having her career torn to shreds by the General Medical Council (GMC), pediatric neuropathologist and expert defense witness Dr. Waney Squier was found guilty of “misleading her peers, being irresponsible, dishonest and bringing the reputation of the medical profession into disrepute.”
However, if the GMC thought that that was the end of the matter, then they were mistaken, because less than eight months later, Dr. Squier was back to appeal their decision, and this time, she was not alone.
Over Three Hundred Doctors, Scientists and Lawyers Write Letter of Protest
After she had been discredited months earlier, 350 doctors, scientists and lawyers rallied together in her support, and in an unprecedented move had written a letter of protest to the British Medical Journal (BMJ), questioning the GMC’s decision.
The BBC, reporting on the story, wrote:
Her supporters believe it is unprecedented to have so many distinguished scientists writing to the BMJ in support of a struck-off doctor.
Signatories include Prof Peter Fleming, the doctor who cut cot deaths; Sir Iain Chalmers, the pioneer of evidence-based medicine; and Prof Liliane Boccon-Gibod, an internationally renowned paediatric pathologist.
Professionals were not the only ones demanding answers, because since their decision, the GMC have been bombarded with petitions and letters from parents and supporters from all over the world.
One extremely powerful letter, written by Protecting Innocent Families, opened:
We are writing in the defense of Dr. Waney Squier, a pediatric neuropathologist who was struck off the medical register this week for practicing outside her area of expertise, ignoring the opinions of her peers, and bringing the reputation of the medical profession into disrepute with her testimony and written opinions in a series of shaken baby cases she helped defend between 2007 and 2010.
We know from personal experience that the prevailing model of shaken baby syndrome is flawed, a fact that is also supported by peer-reviewed literature. Although shaking an infant can cause serious injury and death, the presence of the intracranial and retinal findings now associated with shaken baby syndrome does not prove abuse, which is the vital message Dr. Squier brings to the debate. We are dismayed that the Council is sanctioning her for having the courage and intellectual honesty to express her own views, which are not popular but which are founded on solid scientific thinking and the best available evidence. Many of these diagnoses are based on the presence of non-specific findings (thin subdural hematoma, retinal hemorrhages, and encephalopathy) that can be associated with a number of medical conditions and accidental trauma as well as inflicted injury. It is a logical error to conclude that because abuse can cause the findings, the presence of the findings proves abuse.
After writing several more equally powerful paragraphs, the authors continued by adding that:
The declaration also scolds Dr. Squier unfairly for her citations of the medical research. In one example, she cited the early biomechanical research of Dr. Anne-Christine Duhaime and colleagues (‘The shaken baby syndrome: A clinical, pathological, and biomechanical study,’ Journal of Neurosurgery 1987 66:409–415) to support her observation that shaking without impact has not been shown to generate sufficient forces to cause brain injury. The panel wrote that Dr. Squier had ‘completely misinterpreted what Duhaime had actually said,’ a conclusion that baffles us. The Duhaime paper was a landmark in the field, because it was the first attempt to test shaking theory scientifically, and the results surprised even the authors, who wrote:
‘It was concluded that severe head injuries commonly diagnosed as shaking injuries require impact to occur and that shaking alone in an otherwise normal baby is unlikely to cause the shaken baby syndrome.’
The letter, signed by a total of 24 outraged parents and professionals, ended with this final paragraph:
Dr. Squier is a brilliant physician whose work is internationally known and respected by the scientific community, with the exception of child abuse experts. Her professional writing is founded in science and the scientific method. Her acumen, professionalism, and probity are beyond reproach.
It appears that the overwhelming support for this professional has had the desired effect, because in October 2016, Dr. Waney Squier won her appeal.
Dr. Squiers’ Win Tinged with Sadness
However, despite winning her appeal, as expected, there was a catch, and although Dr. Squier’s name was returned to the medical register, she has been prevented from giving evidence as an expert witness for another three years, which many believe was her punishment for standing up to the establishment.
In a statement to the Daily Mail, Dr. Squier stated:
I have been through hell for nearly seven years and I am so grateful to my colleagues, fellow professionals, friends and family for their understanding and forbearance during this long and difficult period.
I am relieved that my honesty is no longer questioned and that I can put my name back on the medical register, but I feel very resentful about what has happened.
I have been targeted and singled out by the Metropolitan Police because I have challenged the accuracy of shaken baby syndrome.
Civil rights lawyer Clifford Stafford-Smith described Dr. Squier’s case as “a witch hunt” and told the Daily Mail that:
She is still not being allowed to contest the underlying lack of evidence for shaken baby syndrome. This eliminates true science from the courtroom.
His words are spot on; however, it is a shame that he did not mention the fact that when Dr. Squier had previously given evidence for the prosecution, years earlier, her evidence had always been readily accepted, without question. It was only when she decided to examine the SBS theory in more detail that her problems began.
Never Question Authority
In an article written in 2005, the website Justice Denied stated that in the early part of her career, Dr. Waney Squire had accepted the validity of the SBS theory.
Dr. Squier accepted the validity of SBS and testified during a number of trials as a prosecution witness that the existence of the triad of signs supported that the baby had been injured or died as a result of abusive treatment. Lorraine Harris’ trial in 2000 for manslaughter in the death of her four-month-old baby son Patrick was one of the trials during which Dr. Squier testified the triad of SBS signs were present. Harris was convicted and sentenced to three years in prison.
After Harris’ conviction Dr. Squier learned that the research of British neuropathologist Dr. Jennian Geddes resulted in the discovery that injuries associated with the SBS triad can occur naturally, including that bleeding is triggered in some babies from a lack of oxygen. Dr. Geddes suggested that there should be physical evidence that a baby suffered physical trauma before determining that abuse (SBS) occurred.
In fact, it was only after studying Dr. Geddes evidence and reading his papers in full that Dr. Squier began to question the validity of the SBS theory. She told Justice Denied:
A light went on in my head. I became concerned that the whole basis for shaking was poor.
Dr. Squier decided to re-examine the evidence that she had presented to the court in reference to Lorraine Harris and began to question her decisions. In an unprecedented move, she decided to prepare a report for Harris, explaining how she now believed that her trial testimony was incorrect because her baby had no physical injury and it was possible that the baby had died from natural causes.
Justice Denied stated:
Based on the new evidence in Dr. Squier’s report that the jury had not had available, England’s Court of Appeals quashed Harris’ conviction on July 21, 2005.
Until this point, no one had questioned Dr. Squier and she was thought to be a leading professional in the field of SBS. However, the moment that she began to question the theory and speak out on behalf of parents, things began to change.
Three Leading Pathologists Accuse Police of Smear Campaign
For many years, Dr. Squier has been one of the many professionals who believed that the Metropolitan Police are deliberately discrediting any expert witness who dares to speak out on behalf of the parent in SBS cases.
In 2011, BBC Today wrote:
Three leading pathologists have accused the Metropolitan Police of attempting to discredit them as expert witnesses in so-called Shaken Baby court cases.
About 250 Non-Accidental Head Injury (NAHI) cases go to court every year, with the outcome often relying on a expert testimony from pathologists.
The Royal College of Pathologists has called for an inquiry into the claims.
The three professionals, Dr. Waney Squier, Dr. Irene Scheimberg and Dr. Marta Cohen, stated that their evidence was based on a speech given in 2010, by a lead investigator with the Met’s Child Abuse Investigation Command, Detective Inspector Colin Welsh.
BBC Today stated that:
The BBC has obtained a version of the speech made at the 11th International Shaken Baby conference in Atlanta, September 2010.
In this speech, DI Welsh referred to a meeting in 2008 attended by representatives of the police, medical experts and CPS officials at which the ‘impact and effect of contradictory expert evidence’ was discussed. The Met has confirmed the meeting took place but said it was standard procedure following an acquittal in a court case.
According to a note by a Seattle-based lawyer called Heather Kirkwood, DI Welsh talked about the failure of a number of high profile Shaken Baby prosecutions and stated the number one problem as ‘defence expert testimony.’
He suggested as tactics to question everything about them qualifications, employment history, testimony research papers presented by these experts, and even going to their expert bodies ‘to see if we turn up anything.’
To listen to the report in full go to BBC Radio 4, File on Four.
It certainly appears that Dr. Squier was right to be concerned because ever since that meeting took place, she and her colleagues have faced a barrage of complaints to their governing bodies.
Sadly, Dr. Irene Scheimberg and Dr. Marta Cohen, have decided to no longer give evidence in SBS cases and in an interview with BBC’s John Sweeney, Dr. Scheimberg explained why. She told the BBC news team that the reason why she no longer gives evidence in the criminal and family court is because she is afraid of the possible consequences.
This proves only one thing, that any professional who is prepared to speak the truth and go against the medical establishment in a shaken baby case should also be prepared to lose their career as a consequence.
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World Renowned Neuropathologist has Career Destroyed for Disproving Shaken Baby Syndrome