Should Waney Squier have been struck off over shaken baby?

17th October 2016


A doctor who disputed the existence of shaken baby syndrome has said she was struck off because her views challenged the establishment. Now she is appealing against the decision, as John Sweeney explains.

Shaken baby syndrome, also known as SBS, is a controversial diagnosis that causes about 250 criminal and family court cases a year.

The three British pathologists who are openly critical of shaken baby syndrome no longer give evidence in court.

Pathologist Dr Waney Squier can't give evidence because she was struck offseven months ago after a General Medical Council (GMC) panel called her evidence "dishonest" and "deliberately misleading". Her appeal against the decision begins on Monday.

Her two most high-profile fellow sceptics, Dr Irene Scheimberg and Dr Marta Cohen, also no longer give evidence in such cases in the criminal and family courts.

Asked why she doesn't give evidence in shaken baby syndrome cases any more, Dr Scheimberg told BBC Newsnight: "Because I'm afraid of the possible consequences."

Supporters of the SBS diagnosis such as Prof Tony Risdon and Prof Colin Smith, both of whom gave evidence against Dr Squier at her panel, assert that a triad of symptoms including blood over the brain, blood in the eyes and brain damage, must have been caused by an infant being violently shaken.

Both the professors also told the panel that they do not give evidence for the defence in SBS cases.