Remember all those PSAs reminding people to “never shake a baby?” Well, there was a reason for those ads — shaking a baby is incredibly dangerous (not to mention cruel and sick), a reality that a Queens baby, who currently is fighting for her life, learned the hard way.
Just to make this story slightly more despicable, the baby is only 2 months old.
According to the Queens District Attorney’s Office, the baby’s father, 27-year-old Israel Garcia, admitted to shaking the baby on several occasions. On Monday, he took his baby-shaking too far, and his daughter is now on life-support at a local hospital with bleeding to the brain and other life-threatening injuries.
Queens County District Attorney Richard Brown says the baby — Maria
Grodillo, who was born on March 12 — was taken to the emergency room at
Elmhurst Medical Center on Monday in an “unresponsive condition.” Maria
was then taken to New York University Hospital, where it was determined
she was suffering from multiple subdural hematomas (bleeding on the
brain), retinal hemorrhages
in the left eye (bleeding in the eye), old and new brain injuries
(resulting from trauma and oxygen deprivation to the brain), multiple
old rib fractures and various bruises on her left foot and back.
Doctors determined that the injuries were consistent with
“non-accidental inflicted abuse head trauma,” which includes Shaken Baby
Syndrome. The rib fractures were
determined to be consistent with an adult grabbing her and squeezing her
According to the criminal complaint, Garcia admitted to police that earlier this month he came home from work “tired and frustrated.”
When his infant daughter started crying, it sent him over the edge, so
he squeezed her around her torso and shook her up and down. He told
police he thought he might have injured Maria’s ribs at the time, but
declined to tell anyone.
Garcia also admitted that on Monday he was alone with Maria when she
woke up from a nap and started to cry. Rather than acting like a parent
and comforting the girl, he shook her for three minutes — until she
stopped crying and appeared to go to sleep.
Maria wasn’t sleeping, though, she just stopped breathing thanks to the attack from her own father.
Noticing that something was wrong, Garcia then called 911.
“According to the charges, the infant suffered severe brain and eye
injuries, multiple rib fractures and various bruises on her left foot
and back,” Brown says. “Despite increased efforts by medical and law enforcement
personnel to educate the public on the dangers of shaking a baby, we are
still seeing far too many cases of children dying or being permanently
disabled, both mentally and physically, at the hands of their care
givers. Under no circumstances should a baby be shaken. Three seconds
of shaking is all it takes to cause irreparable injury or even death.”
Garcia’s been hit with one count each of first-degree assault and
endangering the welfare of a child. He was ordered held without bail. If
convicted, he faces up to 25 years in prison.
Brown also notes that if Maria dies, the charges against Garcia would be upgraded.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 31, 2012