In 1997, a young British nanny charged with murder brought shaken baby syndrome into the national spotlight, and raised a scientific debate that continues to shape child abuse cases today.

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The Nanny Murder Case: Shaken Baby Syndrome on Trial

Associate Producer: Olivia Katrandjian

Louise Woodward was charged with shaking a baby in her care to death, and the subsequent trial in Boston dominated the headlines for months, focusing attention on a little known diagnosis called shaken baby syndrome, now referred to as abusive head trauma.

Today, scores of other caregivers are accused of injuring or killing a baby by shaking every year. But some doctors and lawyers believe the syndrome is being diagnosed too frequently and that debate is playing out in courtrooms around the country. Over 200 cases have fallen apart since doctors started challenging the diagnosis, with some defendants released after spending more than a decade in jail.


More on the Story

SJC orders new trial in ‘shaken baby’ caseThe Boston Globe
Doctor who doubted shaken baby syndrome misled courts, panel rulesThe Guardian
Retro Report: The Uncertain Science Around Shaken Baby SyndromeThe Takeaway
Related Coverage
Shaken Baby Syndrome: A Diagnosis That Divides the Medical WorldThe New York Times
Media missed questionable science in ‘Nanny Murder Trial,’ new doc showsPoynter
Evidence in 'shaken baby' cases not as clear-cut as once thought, expert saysAmerican Bar Association Journal
New Video Investigates Flawed Science In 'Nanny Murder Trial'Jezebel
Louise Woodward, revisitedThe Washington Post
Why Shaken Baby Syndrome Is Dividing the Medical WorldNewser
The Latest Controversy Over _Shaken Baby_ Forensics Should Surprise No OneThe Huffington Post
Media Coverage Criticized In _Retro Report_ On Shaken Baby TrialThe Crime Report