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News of the Day ... in Perspective


Child “protective” services wants death for allegedly shaken baby

Baby Aiden Stein was taken to the hospital about a year ago when he developed respiratory distress while in the care of his father. He remains on a ventilator.

The Richland County (Ohio) Child Services Board (CSB) wants to have life support terminated.

Baby Aiden’s parents, Matthew Stein and Arica Heimlich, want their baby to live.

Three doctors say he is in a persistent vegetative state, but a fourth doctor disagrees. Some observers say he opens his eyes to the sound of voices and turns his eyes to look. He shifts his body, smiles, and scowls. He responds to his grandmother’s voice.

Some doctors have diagnosed “shaken baby syndrome” on the basis that the child has severe brain damage but no evidence of having fallen from at least 10 feet or involvement in a car crash. Although Matthew Stein has not been charged, both parents have lost their parental rights (Akron Beacon Journal, April 23, 2004).

“As long as Stein says he didn’t cause Aiden’s injuries, and as long as Heimlich stands by him, CSB says it can’t work with them to get their child back,” reported staff writer John Higgins (Akron Beacon Journal, Mar 8, 2005).

On Dec. 30, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that CSB was not empowered to remove Aiden from life support unless his parents are first permanently stripped of their custodial rights. A trial on permanent custody is slated for May 23.

According to a web site that defends Baby Aiden’s right to life, “Judge Spicer…is determined to give guardianship to a lawyer who has already decided that since the baby is unlikely to be able to breathe on his own, the best thing is to withhold nutrition and hydration.” (See www.aidenstein.com.)

Additional information:

Daycare worker acquitted of Shaken Baby Syndrome, News of the Day Archive, Dec 7, 2004.

“Shaken baby” conviction overturned, News of the Day Archive, Sept 1, 2004.

“Shaken Baby Syndrome” questioned. Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Fall 2004.

News of the Day Archive