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Hall of Shame - Witnesses for the Prosecution - Dr. Matthew Seibel

Dr. Matthew Seibel’s testimony was critical in convicting Alan Yurko of a crime carrying the death penalty or life imprisonment without possibility of parole.

The medical reasoning of the prosecution was that the constellation of subdural hematoma, retinal hemorrhages, and “diffuse axonal injury” (minute hemorrhages in a single brain section were described in Baby Alan’s autopsy report though not actually called DAI in that document) is pathognomonic for shaken baby syndrome. Because Mr. Yurko was the only adult with Baby Alan at the time of his respiratory arrest, the prosecution claimed that he therefore must have killed his son.

The baby’s mother, Francine Ream Yurko, filed a complaint charging Dr. Seibel with making untrue and inaccurate statements to the court . She states that he never interviewed her regarding the child’s history as claimed under oath at the trial. He responded that she was too sedated or distraught to remember. No notes regarding the interview are to be found in the medical record. According to Mrs. Yurko, hospital sign-in sheets demonstrate that Dr. Seibel was never present at the same time as she was. Dr. Seibel had Mrs. Yurko served with a defamation lawsuit during the August 2004 evidentiary hearing.