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Debate continues after murder charges against nanny dropped

It is being reported on September 2, 2015 that  there is some debate over the recent change in determination of the cause of death of one-year-old girl, Rehma Sabir.  It was due to the amendment by the coroner that Irish nanny Aisling Brady McCarthy had murder charges against her dropped.

McCarthy had been living in the U.S. illegally when she was babysitting the infant, Rehma Sabir, who was brought to the hospital with fatal injuries and died a few days later.  McCarthy was charged with murder and sent to jail.  Two years later, the cause of death was changed.  Now the prosecutors have decided that they can not meet the burden of proof.  The murder charges were dropped and McCarthy was deported back to Ireland.

However, this did not end the debate over whether the medical examiner made the correct decision.  The defense lawyer said that the original cause of death was “blunt force trauma to the head.” But because the examiner did not know the medical history of the child, this is now thought to be wrong.  After other doctors volunteered to review the case, the cause of death was changed to “undetermined.”

“Medical examiners are medical doctors and scientific professionals who work to determine the cause and manner of death based on the best available information,” said Felix Browne, spokesman for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety, which oversees the state medical examiner’s office. “When new and relevant information becomes available, they factor that in to their analysis and, in rare cases, that new information changes their determination.”

Browne also stated that this was only the second time in the past 9 years that a cause of death was amended by the pathologist.  Both times it involved a case of suspected child abuse.

Some doctors are skeptical of this about-face two years later in the cause of Rehma’s death.  They say that shaken baby syndrome or abusive head trauma is usually very clear and unmistakable.

“‘Sadly this is a reality of current life in medicine, and one has to be skeptical in seeing a sudden turn in a case like this,’ said Dr. Eli Newberger, a pediatrician.  Newberger suggests there may be an ulterior motive for some doctors.  ‘The first thing that occurred to me was, is this pathologist grooming himself or herself for the lucrative defense business across the country?’ he said.”

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