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Pune: 13-month-old battered for being a girl?

Tuesday, 1 January 2013 - 1:44pm IST | Place: Pune | Agency: dna

In a shocking case, the girl suffering from multiple fractures has been reported by treating doctors as a suspected case of battered baby syndrome.

If the suspicion of a team of paediatricians from DY Patil Medical College and Research Centre is found to be true, then a 13-month-old baby girl might be Pune’s Baby Falak.

In a shocking case, the girl suffering from multiple fractures has been reported by treating doctors as a suspected case of battered baby syndrome. Doctors at the paediatric unit of the hospital said that the injuries of the child do not match with the explanation that the parents have given. They suspect that the child is paying the price for being a girl.

Dr Sharad Agharkhedkar, head of paediatric unit, said that the girl was brought by her parents with a swollen bruised face, fractures and inability to move the limbs. However, doctors expressed surprise that the girl wasn’t crying at all.

“Based on the girl’s injuries, we decided to do in-depth investigations and carried out X-rays and scans. We took advice of senior radiologists who told us the girl had many fractures. The fracture to her thigh bone and leg bone were complete,” said paediatrician Dr Vineeta Pandey under whose care the girl is being treated.

“The fractures, including one to her upper limb and both lower limbs, were incomplete. It is also known as green stick fracture in which a young soft bone bends and only breaks partially,” she added.

The girl’s mother said that the baby had fallen down from the sofa, Dr Pandey said.

“However, the radiologists told us that some of the fractures were old, maybe 4-5 weeks ago. Two fractures are fresh and, hence, these injuries are not the result of a single fall. Our experience tells us that this is case of battered baby syndrome,” said Dr Agharkhedkar, ex-president of Indian Medical Association, Pune. He said that the hospital had also initiated counseling for the parents and a team of psychiatrists were talking to them.

“As far as the girl goes, the physical injuries will heal on its own. She will not require surgery or plaster casts since she is young. Fractures will heal and she will walk. She is not shocked and eating well too,” Dr Agharkhedkar said.

According to staff at the department, the girl’s maternal grandparents revealed that the girl is the third female child in her family. Her father had married previously and had two girl children from his first marriage.

He married the girl’s mother hoping for a boy, but his family was infuriated when a girl was born again. The victim obviously bore brunt of this anger.

However, while on one hand the doctors are doing their bit by informing the police and starting counseling for parents, they said that the parents are sticking to their statement and unwilling to give too many details. “The mother keeps saying that the baby fell from a cot. We told her that such trivial fall cannot cause such injuries. But she is adamant on her story,” the doctors said.

Although the doctors from the hospital have alerted the police, no formal case has been filed yet.

Police sub inspector CD Anbhule of Wakad police chowki said, “After receiving a report from the hospital, we went to the hospital and talked to the parents. The baby’s mother told us that her baby had fallen from the bed and that nobody had beaten the infant. We also spoke to the relatives but nobody has come forward to lodge a complaint. As a result, we cannot probe the case further. In case someone registers a case, we will carry out a detailed probe.”

Advocate Milind Pawar said, “In such a case, if none of the victim’s relatives or parents come forward to register a case, the police cannot register an offence. In case the police lodge a case against unidentified persons, it would not stand in the court.”

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