Monday, January 9, 2012

In Virginia, Grandfather Kneels, and Says Goodnight Prayers next to Empty Crib | Shaken Baby Syndrome

Every night around 10 o'clock, Steve Stowe heads to a bedroom of his house in Hampton, bends his head and says goodnight prayers to an empty crib.
It's a ritual that would break the hearts or the spirits of many of us, but Steve uses it to keep his 3-year-old grandson close, two years after young Jared Patton lost his battle with the fatal, crippling effects of Shaken Baby Syndrome.
The ritual also helps Steve refuel for his own ongoing battle to educate the people of Virginia about the syndrome, and to save the lives of other babies before they are shaken to death — or to what amounts to a slow death — by a caregiver.
But while Jared lived, his grandparents made it their mission to make every moment as loving and special as possible.
Steve has written about that mission in a new book called "Jared's Journey: The Magical Life of a Shaken Baby." It's self-published through Friesen Press.
I can't speak to the full contents because I can't get beyond the introduction without choking up.
Jared, Steve writes, "endured his expedition to earth to teach my wife, Kathy, myself and many others just how to dance with God. …the magical story of Jared's life here on earth must be shared with anyone who has ever doubted the presence of a God, or the numerous layers of strength that the human body can and will endure."
Along with writing this book, Steve and Kathy have been doing what they can to educate others about Shaken Baby Syndrome. They've lobbied state lawmakers to try to get legislation to help educate new parents across the commonwealth.
They haven't succeeded yet, but haven't given up.
With the help of former Newport News delegate Glenn Oder, a resolution passed the General Assembly last year to study the costs of caring for shaken babies and best prevention practices in other states.
The state's Joint Commission on Health Care used the Stowes as a case study, in part because Kathy kept such meticulous records, from every diaper change to every trip to a pharmacy.
The study found the couple spent nearly $230,000 over three years — money that Steve said they begged, borrowed and stole, and are still paying back.
But the study also found Jared's care cost the state an additional $300,000 a year. It would have cost about three times as much, had Jared been institutionalized, as many shaken babies are.
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If you have any questions or concerns about what can be done to help babies who have been shaken, or families of babies who have died, please call Christopher Keane and The Keane Law Firm toll-free for free consultation at (888) 592-5437 (KIDS), click on contact us here, or use the web form provided at

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