Foster mother testifies at shaken baby trial

Doctor describes baby's injuries
By LOUISE DICKSON, September 13, 2010

 Baby E was absolutely lovely, didn't cry a lot and didn't cry loudly, her former foster mother testified Monday in Victoria provincial court.
"We thought we might adopt her," said Micheline Slader, testifying at the trial of her former boyfriend Avtar Basi for the aggravated assault of 11-week old Baby E.
But on the morning of Nov. 26, 2008, Baby E stopped breathing and was rushed to Victoria General Hospital where she was found to have devastating brain injuries.
Crown counsel Nils Jensen is alleging the injuries were caused when Basi violently shook Baby E that morning.
Basi's defence lawyer John Green said his client will testify that Baby E went limp and, in a panicked reaction, he shook her three times to try to revive her.
On Monday, Slader and her two oldest sons took the stand, describing a normal, uneventful early morning at their Central Saanich home as they got ready for school. None of them had dropped, harmed or shaken Baby E in any way, at any time, they testified.
Slader called Basi from the van and told him where Baby E's milk was and where her bottle was.
"There was no noise in the background," she testified.
A few minutes later, as she was about to drop the oldest son at Stelly's Secondary School, Basi phoned back.
"I believe his words were, 'I think there's something wrong with Baby E. I think she's not breathing,' " Slader recalled. "I said, 'call 9-1-1.' "
She raced home and found Basi giving rescue breaths to the infant, assisted by an emergency dispatcher on the phone.
"I pushed him out of the way and took over. I had no idea what happened to her," said Slader.
Paramedics arrived within minutes and took over — "It felt like forever," she said.
Slader will continue her testimony later this week.
Also on the stand Monday, Dr. Victor Pegado, an expert in pediatric ophthalmology, testified that he examined Baby E at the hospital on the evening of Nov. 26, 2008 and found multiple retinal hemorrhages, 50 to 100, scattered in both of her eyes.
"The one thing I want the intensive-care doctor and other doctors to know is that this was consistent with non-accidental head injury" said Pegado.
"Which includes shaken-baby syndrome?" asked Jensen.
"Yes," Pegado replied.
The mostly likely cause of the retinal hemorrhages was a series of accelerations and decelerations of the eye, back and forth, he told the court.
Baby E's retinal hemorrhages started at the same time and were similar in size, said Pegado.
"I can't say for sure, but these findings imply it may have been associated with one event."
The trial continues with more medical evidence on Tuesday.