Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Kristian Aspelin San Francisco; Filmakers seek funding for "In a moment: The Johan Aspelin story" - documentary on a family assaulted by "a careless diagnosis of shaken baby syndrome."

COUNTDOWN: 23 days to Wrongful Conviction Day: (Thursday October 2, 2014);

RELEASE:  "In a moment: The Johan Aspelin story," published by Kickstarter on September 4, 2014.

GIST: "In a moment" is the riveting documentary film of Kristian and Jennie Aspelin who lost their 3-month-old son Johan after a series of tragic events. No parent should ever have to say a final good-bye to their child - It’s an unimaginable nightmare. Unfortunately, Kristian and Jennie’s nightmare only got worse. Two days after Johan was brought to the hospital Kristian was arrested at his son’s bedside and taken to the San Francisco County Jail. A careless diagnosis of Shaken Baby Syndrome was attributed to Johan’s injuries and Kristian’s fate was now in the hands of the criminal justice system. Jennie was left alone to save the family she had left........Our goal with "In a Moment" is to tell the story of the Aspelin family and their baby, Johan, who was the victim of a series of tragic medical errors that resulted in the misdiagnosis of Shaken Baby Syndrome. Medical errors in the United States are nothing short of an epidemic."

The entire release can be found at:


For background see the following CBS story:   "Bay area family's ordeal raises questions over baby convictions. "Aspelin’s attorney Stuart Hanlon found a growing number of doctors who warn that there could be other reasons than just shaking a baby that can cause brain injuries. “No one says it’s okay to shake your baby,” Hanlon says, “but the question is, could shaking a child cause the type of head injuries that killed him?” It is a debate that divides the doctors who testify in these shaken baby cases. Pediatricians who see victims of child abuse argue brain bleeding from just a fall is rare, and most likely from abuse. Clinical forensic medical specialist Dr. Steven Gabaeff of Carmichael disagrees. “The position that shaking can cause these kinds of bleeds have never been substantiated,” Gabaeff argues. Gabaeff said it is abusive to shake a baby, and it does cause some injury. But shaking alone, he believes, is not enough to cause the bleeding and the brain swelling. He says there are many other causes. “These things are nonspecific findings that can occur in impact injuries, birth trauma and other complications.” Dr. Gabaeff said “A number of medical problems that can result increased intra-cranial pressure and bleeding around the brain.” San Francisco prosecutors agreed the evidence of shaken baby syndrome in the Aspelin case was murky, and dropped the murder charges against him......... The fallout for the Aspelins was severe. Kristian Aspelin was banned from living with his family while working to prove his innocence, and he had to sell his home to raise money for his defense. He is still bitter over what he called the doctors’ rush to judgment against him. “One hour after looking at the baby, they decide this is shaken baby, and it took us seven experts and seven months to uncover the truth,” Kristian Aspelin said. Two and a half years later, the case is over. Aspelin has also won his appeal to get his name off the state child abuse register. The couple grieves the loss of their baby son."


For background on Wrongful Conviction Day see the following link:
Interested participants may sign up by contacting Win Wahrer of The Association in Defence of the Wrongfully Convicted at: winwahrer@aidwyc.org.

(Recently signed up  participants: The Canadian Criminal Justice Association (CCJA) and the Calgary John Howard Society.)


Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.
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The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:


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