Saturday, November 28, 2009

Dad "allegedly" attacked 5-day-old son on hospital ward; infant dies a year later from injuries (Yorkshire, England, United Kingdom)

UNNAMED DAD "allegedly" assaulted his 5-day-old son while he was still in the hospital. The baby developed a severe brain injury from the assault, and a host of health problems--cerebral palsy, blindness, epilepsy. After a year, the baby has died, but no charges have yet been filed. Of course, the father appears to have a history of domestic violence (though the article below is extraordinarily vague in identifying who was perpetrating the violence--talking about domestic violence "in the family" doesn't tell the reader much, does it? You might as well be talking about the rain at a picnic. Implies it was just sort of there, doesn't it? With no human agency.) Also appears that both parents had drug problems or mental health issues, though what this means is also left vague.

In all, we have the same pious handwringing that occurs after every one of these "tragic" events, how the authorities failed this child, yada yada. Big promises for reform, and then-- nothing.

Probe into death of baby attacked on hospital ward

Corinthian Kemp never recovered from an assault in Huddersfield Royal Infirmary

Date: 27 November 2009
By Rob Preece Crime Correspondent

A MAJOR police investigation is under way into the death of a baby who was allegedly attacked by his father on a Yorkshire hospital ward when he was only five days old.

Corinthian Kemp, who can be named for the first time today, never recovered from a severe brain injury caused in an assault in Huddersfield Royal Infirmary in August 2007.

He suffered from cerebral palsy, blindness and epilepsy, and died in August this year – less than a year after a damning independent report criticised health and social workers who failed to protect him.

Detectives from West Yorkshire Police are now investigating whether anyone should be charged over the infant's death.

The Yorkshire Post revealed in July how care professionals decided to keep Corinthian in hospital after he was born because they feared he was at risk from domestic violence.

They were also concerned the boy's parents, who were understood to be drug users with mental health problems, would be unable to meet his needs.

But Corinthian was injured after he and his mother were moved to a side ward where they could not be watched so frequently.

A review panel reporting to Kirklees Safeguarding Children Board (KSCB) later found the decision to keep Corinthian in hospital was "flawed" because agencies assumed he would receive "a level of supervision that in truth did not exist".

Panel members heard there had been two serious incidents of domestic violence in the boy's family in the months before his birth.

They found that social workers, health professionals and police all had concerns about the family's well-being but failed to compel each other to take more "assertive action".

A short-term foster placement could not be arranged, and the panel found that Kirklees Council's children's social care department was "truly between a rock and a hard place" after Corinthian's birth – faced with breaking up the family or keeping him in an unsuitable place.

The baby's care arrangements were considered in court in May last year, when a judge found that his father was responsible for his injuries and his mother "was at least complicit in hiding the truth".

But no charges have been brought in the case, even since Corinthian died three months ago.

A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said a post-mortem examination of his body had proved "inconclusive".

"Although the post-mortem was inconclusive," the spokesman added, "we await a pathologist's report and investigations into the cause of death are ongoing."

The review panel which considered Corinthian's case told agencies to make a host of improvements to the way they monitor children at risk.

Recommendations included ensuring social workers begin assessing a baby's situation 12 weeks before it is born.

The panel also demanded that planning meetings should be held by social workers and health professionals whenever a child is kept on a hospital ward because of concerns about abuse or neglect.

After the review was published, a spokesman for the KSCB said it had taken steps to improve "information sharing and subsequent risk management", including contact between children and parents, in cases where such concerns existed.