UPDATE: Ashland Man Arraigned in Shaken Baby Case

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Understanding What Can Lead to Shaken Baby Syndrome

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- It's happened again. For at least the sixth time in recent months, there's another case of a newborn injured after being shaken.  

"You're just horrified and you're sad because you know the life this child could have had has been derailed," Dr. Jill Hopkins said.  

Dr. Hopkins works in the Pediatrics department at Cabell Huntington Hospital. She says seeing news of babies being shake is sickening. However, being a new parent herself, she knows the stress can sometimes be overwhelming.  

"Your first thought is always 'how could they?'," Dr. Hopkins said. "But if you've been at home in the middle of the night with a child that's been screaming and inconsolable, you kind of understand that the stress from all that crying, not having sleep, not taking care of yourself can lead someone in the heat of the moment to grab a baby and shake it." 

That's why she says hospitals across West Virginia are now showing parents "The Period of PURPLE Crying." It's an instructional video, and easy to remember phrase that lets parents know what to do when the crying becomes too much.  

"P" stands for peak time of crying, which is about 2 months of age. "U" is for unexpected because parents don't know why their baby is crying again. "R" is for resisting soothing. Doctors tell parents to walk, talk, comfort and carry their babies. "P" is pain-like face. Babies will pull their knees in, and act like they're in pain. "L" is for long-lasting. Some babies can cry for five hours at a time without taking a break. Finally, "E" can be the most frustrating part because the crying usually happens in the evening.  

Hopkins says it's important for parents to remember the period of PURPLE crying is just that, a short period that will soon come to an end.  

"Just keep that in the back of your mind," Dr. Hopkins said. "This is going to get better. It's absolutely going to get better."

UPDATE 7/2/14 @ 12 p.m.
BOYD COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- The 20-year-old man arrested for what police say is a case of Shaken Baby Syndrome was in court Wednesday morning.

Joseph W. Blankenship, of Ashland, is charged with Criminal Abuse of a child less than 12 years of age.

Blankenship was arraigned on the charge during a hearing in Boyd District Court.

The judge entered a not guilty plea for Blankenship. His bond was set at $10,000.

Ashland Police says Blankenship admitted to shaking his girlfriend's 2-month-old son while babysitting.

Police said he told them the baby was crying and wouldn't stop.

Investigators said the mother was at work when it happened.

They believe Blankenship has watched the baby before.

On Tuesday, police said the baby was in critical condition.

Blankenship remains in the Boyd County Detention Center.



UPDATE 7/1/14 @ 5:37 p.m.
ASHLAND, Ky. (WSAZ) -- At only 2 months old, an Ashland baby is facing a major battle: staying alive.

This comes after police said he was shaken by his mother's boyfriend, while he was babysitting.

"That's crazy. I mean, yeah it's easy to get aggravated with them, but not to the point where you want to shake them," said neighbor, Nevada Jolliff.

Jolliff is in awe after a 2-month-old boy was shaken and hurt just a few doors down on Reeves Boulevard in Ashland.

"It hurts, it really does. I couldn't imagine someone doing that to my kids, I'd go crazy," Jolliff said.

Ashland Police arrested and charged Joseph Blankenship, 20, with first-degree criminal abuse of a child, after he admitted to shaking his girlfriend's 2-month-old son while babysitting.

He called 911 to report the infant's injuries.

Police said he told them the baby was crying and wouldn't stop.

"A young man and trying to take care of a baby, made some poor decisions and doing so, probably made the wrong one," said Ashland Police Maj. Todd Kelley.

The baby was taken to King's Daughter's Medical Center, then transported to Cabell Huntington Hospital.

An E.R. doctor noticed several symptoms of shaken baby syndrome.

"There was a subdural bleed, which is indicative of some type of trauma to the head," Kelley said.

Investigators said the mother was at work when it happened.

They believe Blankenship has watched the baby before.

Police said he didn't appear to be under the influence of anything and they found nothing out of the ordinary at the home.

For now, neighbors are holding their children closer, and hoping two month old boy will be OK.

"I would not trade them for nothing," Jolliff said.

Ashland Police tell WSAZ.com the baby is in critical, but stable condition.

They also said the investigation is still ongoing and the department is working with social services in this case.

WSAZ.com reached out to Joseph Blankenship for his side of the story. He declined an interview.

Blankenship is set to be arraigned in court Wednesday morning.



ORIGINAL STORY 7/1/14 @ 10:28 a.m.
ASHLAND, Ky. (WSAZ) – A 20-year-old man from Ashland has been arrested for what police say is a case of Shaken Baby Syndrome.

Ashland Police say about 5 p.m. on Monday they were called to the Emergency Room at KDMC concerning a life threatening injury to a two-month-old infant.

Police say the infant was suffering from a left subdural hemorrhage (brain bleed), and there was evidence the injury was non-accidental trauma.

The baby was later taken to Cabell Huntington Hospital for further treatment. Police say the baby is in critical condition.

Officers arrested and charged Joseph W. Blankenship with Criminal Abuse of a child less than 12 years of age.

Police say the injury to the baby happened at a home on Reeves Boulevard in Ashland.

They say Blankenship was alone with the infant when the “Abusive Head Trauma,” more commonly referred to as “Shaken Baby Syndrome,” occurred.

Investigators say Blankenship is the live-in boyfriend of the infant’s mother. but is not related to the baby.

Blankenship is being held in the Boyd County Detention Center.


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