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Diagnosis Murder

Diagnosis Murder

Fifth Estate – Season 37


Gillian Findley


CBC/Fifth Estate, Theresa Burke





The Fifth Estate investigates shaken baby syndrome. For decades, the diagnosis virtually guaranteed convictions, shattering the lives of thousands of parents, babysitters and families. Now new evidence questions whether the syndrome even exists and whether some of those convictions may have been wrong.

It's a scenario as horrifying as it is heartbreaking: a frustrated parent, a baby that just won't stop crying, and suddenly, what were tender, cradling arms become instruments of death. This is how shaken baby syndrome has been characterized in countless court cases in recent years. But what are the scientific foundations of this diagnosis?

Diagnosis Murder tells the story of several parents who say they were wrongfully accused—and the leading medical researchers who believe they're telling the truth. The stakes are high. Some have gone to jail. All have had their other children taken away from them.

Is shaken baby syndrome conclusive evidence of murder? Or is it a scientific hypothesis that has convicted an untold number of parents as killers when their children actually died from other causes?

Published and distributed by Filmakers Library.

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