Wednesday, October 31, 2001

Birth injuries called not serious


They're cited in defense at dad's abuse trial

By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — After Draven Howard was born in an urgent Caesarean section, he was blue and let out a weak cry.

        The Hamilton baby had marks on his head and bleeding under his scalp after forceps and a vacuum extractor were used in failed attempts to deliver him vaginally.

        None of those indicators was particularly alarming, Dr. Colleen Swayze said, because babies are often blue and bruised after birth.

        Dr. Swayze's videotaped testimony was presented Tuesday, the second day in a controversial child-abuse trial in Butler County Common Pleas Court.

        James Neil Howard, 28, of Hamilton, is accused of two felony child-endangering counts involving his son, Draven. Now 21 months old, Draven was diagnosed when he was 2 1/2 months old with abusive head trauma: bleeding inside his head and eyes. The child's ability to see and learn remains uncertain, and he takes anti-seizure medication.

        The defense is attributing the child's problems to his difficult birth, but prosecutors say abuse is the only logical explanation.

        Under questioning by Steve Tolbert, an assistant prosecutor, Dr. Swayze said the child appeared to be “normal” and was doing well after his birth at Mercy Hospital Fairfield in January 2000.

        But Dr. Swayze, under questioning by Mr. Howard's lawyer, Michael Shanks, said she couldn't say whether the child could have had bleeding inside his head that went undetected.

        Draven's family doctor, James Simcoe of Fairfield, testified he didn't think the birth-related marks on Draven's head were of any medical significance.

        The trial continues today, and is expected to last at least through Monday. If convicted, Mr. Howard faces up to 16 years in prison.

       



Jorg case left unsettled
The testimony: Key moments in the trial
Witness: Owensby untouched by Caton
Chief can't campaign in uniform
City may bolster plans for security
Debate focuses on riots, revival
Fuller, Luken debate details
Halloween is on, with care
Lawyers, officers hear call
Outside funds for UC research reach record
Research funds rise 19% for UC fiscal year
Stained glass reflects chapel's varying faiths
Tristate A.M. Report
UC cancer center gets $60M boost
United Way names grant winners
HOWARD: Some Good News
RADEL: Yummy treats
SAMPLES: In memory
- Birth injuries called not serious
Consultant charged with tax fraud
Deerfield Twp. official takes job in Columbus
Fairfield Twp. race focus: growth
House GOP proposes sales-tax holiday
Some voters face 5 local issues
State officials lukewarm to plan for interchange
Boone may chip in on roadwork
Call-ups take toll at home
'Common sense' on anthrax urged
Kentucky News Briefs
Ky. quintuplets 1st since 1914