CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Narang et al. on Daubert and Shaken Baby Syndrome

Sandeep K. Narang John David Melville Christopher S. Greeley James D. Anderst Shannon L. Carpenter and Betty Spivack (University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio , UTHSCSA , UTHSC-Houston , Children's Mercy Hospital , Children's Mercy Hospital and Independent) have posted A Daubert Analysis of Abusive Head Trauma/Shaken Baby Syndrome — Part II: An Examination of the Differential Diagnosis on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

For reasons inexplicable to many physicians, and unbeknownst to many others, the diagnosis of Abusive Head Trauma/Shaken Baby Syndrome (AHT/SBS) remains a lightning rod for controversy. Recent legal commentary has suggested that there is insufficient science girding this diagnosis. In Part I of the analysis on this topic, Dr. Narang presented a relatively comprehensive analysis of the current science surrounding AHT/SBS, and more specifically, surrounding two of the most common injuries found in AHT/SBS — subdural hemorrhages (SDHs) and retinal hemorrhages (RHs). Dr. Narang asserted that the diagnosis of AHT is supported by "at least 700 peer-reviewed, clinical medical articles comprising thousands of pages of medical literature, published by over one thousand different medical authors, from at least twenty-eight different countries." In response to this article, Findley et al reiterated an insufficient scientific basis for the diagnosis, citing, amongst other things, logical fallacies (such as "circularity" and "the prosecutor's fallacy") as premises for the fallacious literature. In Part II of this analysis, Narang et al swing the microscope in the opposite direction. Narang et al scrutinize the "differential diagnosis" of AHT, and the differential diagnosis methodology itself, to ascertain whether the scientific process of coming to the AHT diagnosis meets reliability and relevancy criteria under Daubert.

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