Friday, February 5, 1999

Reubyne Buentipo’s
injuries no accident,
doctor testifies

The witness in the mother's trial said
the boy had signs of 'shaken
baby syndrome'

By Debra Barayuga


Injuries suffered by Reubyne Buentipo Jr. are classic signs of "shaken baby syndrome" and were not caused accidentally, according to a Kapiolani Medical Center radiologist.

Dr. Robert DiMauro testified yesterday as the prosecution's witness in the second day of the trial of Kimberly Pada, charged with attempted murder for allegedly beating and shaking her son, then 4 years old, in August 1997. The boy remains in a vegetative state at a convalescent home.

"Shaken baby syndrome" refers to when a child is shaken so violently that the head moves rapidly back and forth, causing the brain to bang against the skull, resulting in serious and permanent injury.

DiMauro said damage to Reubyne Jr.'s brain is permanent.

The shaking caused his brain to swell and blood vessels to separate from the skull, resulting in bleeding in both hemispheres of the brain and behind his eyes.

Other than a violent shaking, the injuries the boy sustained could only have been caused by being ejected from a car in a crash or falling from a three-story building and landing on his head, DiMauro said.

The boy also sustained a fracture of the femur, one of the body's larger bones, caused by a twisting motion, he said.

Jurors were shown graphic photographs of injuries Reubyne Jr. sustained throughout his body, including burns to his feet and cuts and bruises on his rectum, penis and buttocks.

Dr. Cynthia Tinsley, a pediatric intensivist at Kapiolani Medical Center, said the boy suffered second- and third-degree burns to his left foot -- injuries consistent with being immersed in a hot liquid.

Photos showed areas of Reubyne's left foot were white, indicating blood vessels had been damaged. Doctors had to amputate his baby toe because it had become gangrenous, Tinsley said. The dead tissue had to be removed because it could lead to infection -- the main cause of death among burn patients.

Doctors found cuts or "gouged out marks of skin," on one of his lower ankles, across the top of his legs and his buttocks and bruises across his back.

Cuts or "fissures" across his rectum were consistent with some type of trauma -- such as a foreign object being inserted into his rectum, she said.

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