'Incredible force' would break baby's ribs

2012-06-08 22:10

Pretoria - To break a baby's ribs would need "incredible force", a neurosurgeon has testified in the North Gauteng High Court trial of a Pretoria couple accused of murdering their baby.

Dr Peter John Samuels, one of the neurosurgeons who treated two-month-old baby Wade at the Steve Biko hospital before his death in April 2009, testified that medical intervention at another hospital would not have caused the baby's 22 broken ribs, head injuries or bruises.

Baby Wade's parents Marissa Rudman, 36, and her boyfriend Nolan Schoeman, 32, pleaded not guilty to charges of murdering and abusing their son and another young boy.

Rudman admitted discharging the baby from the Pretoria West Hospital, where he was admitted with pneumonia about two weeks before his death, against medical advice.

She claimed she had only noticed bruises on the baby's head six days later, but thought it had been caused by the struggle to insert a drip into his head.

Dr Samuels earlier testified that the baby was in a critical condition with convulsions, an eye swollen shut and visible bruises on his head and body when he was admitted to the Steve Biko Hospital early in April 2009.

X-rays revealed that baby Wade had two broken forearms and various broken ribs that were a few weeks old.

The baby's lung was also bruised, his brain was bleeding in several places and there was such massive swelling that the bones of the skull had pulled apart and parts of the brain had already started to die.

Dr Samuels and the doctor who admitted the baby to the Pretoria West Hospital were called by the court to testify, after suggestions by the accused that some of the baby's injuries might have been sustained at Pretoria West.

Dr Lee Pillay of Pretoria West testified that the baby's massive head injuries, bruises and rib fractures could not possibly have been caused by inserting a drip into his head.

He said one did not go through the skull when inserting a drip in a baby's head, and the drip could not interfere with the brain at all.

Although he could not remember the specific patient, it was clear from the notes that the baby had been seriously ill and had been discharged prematurely.

Dr Pillay said it was possible that the baby could already have had broken ribs at that stage, as this could also have caused his symptoms of pneumonia, but it was unlikely that anyone would have picked up the rib fractures unless there were severe bruises.

He conceded that babies usually struggled and that it was difficult to insert a drip into a baby's head, but said it was highly unlikely that the insertion of the drip or the nurse restraining the baby would have caused bruises which were only visible six days later.

He said Rudman's claims that an adult needle had been used was also unlikely - one would not even try to use it on a baby, because it did not fit.

Dr Samuels also testified that it was extremely unlikely that bruises would only appear six days later.

He thought it extremely unlikely that holding a baby down to insert a drip would have caused the massive bruises to the baby's forehead, as the baby was acutely sick and no great force would have been necessary.

Pushing the baby onto the bed while inserting the drip would also not have broken ribs, as a baby's ribs were soft and one would need sudden, incredible force to break the ribs, he testified.

Dr Samuels was adamant that anyone caring for the baby would have noticed two broken forearms, as it would have been incredibly painful and the baby would not have used his arms.

The trial will resume on 10 July.

  • jomardl - 2012-06-08 22:41

    The person responsible for this must die.

      Alexis - 2012-06-09 07:43

      break every flipen bone in their bodies

      Janice - 2012-06-09 11:06

      I hate these two things, otherwise known as 'people'!!!

  • Rodney - 2012-06-08 23:24

    sorry, the doc is wrong, it is a known fact that you can break ribs by trying to resusitate a baby. As for the bruises on the baby's head, they may have been caused by a nurse not fully qualifed to do the job. The doc does say it is very difficult to insert a drip, but claiming that an adult size needle would not have been used implies that a competent nurse was on hand, that may very well not have been the case. That doesn't explain the broken arms or the injuries to the other child, although this article doesn't mention the other childs injuries. Half assed reporting. go figure

      Nolukholo Ncete - 2012-06-09 08:43

      Rodney: firstly no resuscitation of the baby was mentioned, so your opinion is based on an assumption. Secondly, trying to insert a drip would not cause underlying brain swelling as the drip is inserted superficially on the skin and not through the bone. Thirdly, you have to look at the whole picture and not try find a cause for each injury. You must think of the likely causes and not something that is far fetched, no one would try an adult needle on a baby as it is ridiculously bit. The fact that you are inserting the drip on the head means that you have struggled to insert it anywhere else so using an adult needle does not make sense.

      Janice - 2012-06-09 11:07

      Rodney, you are talking utter garbage, and you know it!

      ever.ryman - 2012-06-09 14:24

      Where did you get your medical degree Rodney?

      linda.visagie - 2012-06-09 18:41

      Calm down people. I don't think Rodney is defending these monsters...

  • Deana - 2012-06-09 04:12

    How the can f@ck two people, I will not call them parents, be so cruel? That baby was helpless, defenseless and totally dependent. They are evil personified. I hope both of them never get redemption and are forever haunted by the painful, desperate cries of the child they murdered. May God sent them straight to hell where the devil will give them what's due. Sick Monsters!

      Janice - 2012-06-09 11:19

      Georgina, go play in the traffic!!! Deana is a million percent right!

  • Grant - 2012-06-09 07:08

    These two pigs must never be allowed to see the light of day again.

  • linda.visagie - 2012-06-09 07:51

    Animals take better care of the babies! Why did the hospital allow the child to be discharged back into this woman's care instead of calling in the authorities?

  • Mike Purchase - 2012-06-09 08:07

    Whoever did this must suffer a long hard life in a very small dark cell.

  • Henri - 2012-06-09 08:38

    Make an example of these murdering pigs.. I pray for their death and torture behind bars.. Baba is coming for you both !!

  • - 2012-06-09 09:04

    Absolutely disgusting. I hope they both rot in hell. People like this do not deserve the privelage of life let alone the blessing of a baby. Just heartbreaking, they will get what's coming to them.

  • Justine Cornil - 2012-06-09 10:57

    Scum of the earth!

  • Maurits Schultz - 2012-06-09 16:44

    Those subhuman scum deserve to be tortured to death!

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