Shaken Baby Syndrome: plaguing the Tri-Cities

TRI-CITIES - The problem of Shaken Baby Syndrome continues to plague the Tri-Cities. Health experts try to educate new parents about how easy it is to cause long-lasting damage or even death -- but the problem still persists. KEPR spoke with one family who is battling the long-term consequences.

Just five seconds of anger can change a baby's life.

"We were a normal family," said mother of shaken baby Kristin Faught.

Faught says her ex-husband loved his children.
But one day -- gave into frustration and shook five-week-old Brian.

"Each day that I've had with Brian has been a bonus day," said Faught.

Brian now suffers from severe disabilities.

"It takes a different kind of strength to take on that whole responsibility," added Faught.

And Faught speaks out about the dangers of shaking an infant.

"Everyone should know it can happen to them," emphasized Faught.

She's not alone. Health experts gathered rough data from local hospitals -- and found nine cases of Shaken Baby Syndrome in the Tri-Cities last year. These numbers are unprocessed -- it requires waiting for court cases to be finished.

Officials agree it's an issue right here in the Tri-Cities, but say many cases go unaccounted for for its legal nature. It's why the health field wants to start tracking it medically as abusive head trauma.

Hospitals are hoping education is the key to prevention.
Parents watch a DVD on the so-called "period of purple crying" before leaving the hospital. It prepares them for the time a baby can be inconsolable.

"You think that babies are going to be happy because you know how to feed them, hold them, rock them and love them," said Kadlec NICU and Pediatric Clinical Educator Carol Gaulke.

Besides the physical damage -- there's the financial aspect. Caring for Brian could cost $1,000,000 over his lifetime -- all from a few seconds of frustration. She still counts her blessings.

"So that's a gift. Each day is a gift," said Faught.

Kristin's ex-husband was charged criminally for shaking their baby and served jail time. Statewide there were 15 cases of babies shaken in 2010.