EXTENSIVE bruising and a broken arm showed Wodonga baby Charlotte Rose Keen clearly had suffered trauma on more than one occasion, a hearing heard yesterday.
Albury paediatrician John Douglas told the Wodonga Coroner’s Court it was also fairly clear that Charlotte’s injuries were not accidental.
“I would make that comment based on the nature and number of bruises,” he said.
Dr Douglas was the first specialist to see Charlotte when the 11-month-old arrived by ambulance at the Albury hospital emergency department on December 12, 2004.
Charlotte — who died in the Royal Children’s Hospital five days later — had just been transferred from Wodonga.
Once he determined Charlotte was “clinically stable”, he interviewed mother, Renee Jones.
“(She) was very distressed at the time and the history I took was confusing as a consequence,” he told police in a statement.
Dr Douglas told coroner Jacinta Heffey yesterday that it was not unusual for an 11-month-old to have some bruises from household scrapes, “but not multiple bruises”.
“She had bruises that were recent, being bluish and dark and others were yellow. They were different ages,” she said.
Counsel assisting the coroner Doug Trapnell, SC, asked if that indicated Charlotte suffered trauma on more than one occasion.
“I would expect so,” replied Dr Douglas, who has only recently retired from full-time consulting after more than 30 years as a paediatrician.
He told the court the upper arm fracture suffered by Charlotte was quite unusual as that bone was usually quite difficult to break.
Charlotte’s injuries, he said, were consistent with his understanding of shaken baby syndrome, especially the bilateral retinal haemorrhages she suffered.
Dr Douglas told police the most “remarkable” of Charlotte’s bruises included yellow parallel ones separated by two centimetres or so on the right side of her neck.
She had a recent bluish-black bruise in front of her right ear, a blue-black bruise in front of her left ear, a similar one on her left cheek and haemorrhages and bruising of her ears.
Dr Douglas then went on to detail bruises on other parts of Charlotte’s body — on her right elbow, on her right thigh over her pelvic crest, on her right leg and on her back.