Saturday, February 6, 1999

Fall caused toddler’s
leg to fracture,
mom claims

By Debra Barayuga


A woman on trial for allegedly abusing her son told a hospital social worker in April 1996 her son had injured himself by falling off a couch.

Reubyne Buentipo Jr., four months shy of his third birthday, sustained a spiral fracture to his right leg in the April incident, said Ruth Antone, a Kapiolani Hospital social worker who spoke to the boy's mother, Kimberly Pada.

Pada is charged with attempted murder in an alleged August 1997 beating and shaking that left son Reubyne Jr., 4, with permanent brain damage. Prosecutors say Pada subjected her son to a pattern of abuse.

Earlier this week, a hospital radiologist who had examined the boy's X-ray in April 1996 said that while fractures to the femur occur often, Reubyne Jr.'s injury was not consistent with a child falling off a couch.

A spiral fracture occurs when the lower part of the leg is fixed and the upper part is twisted, Dr. Robert DiMauro, Kapiolani Hospital radiologist had testified. "It requires more severe force than falling off a couch."

DiMauro also had said severe damage to Reubyne Jr.'s brain in August 1997 showed classic signs of "shaken baby syndrome" and could not have been caused accidentally.

Through questioning, deputy public defender Mary Wong suggested that damage to the boy's brain could have been caused by a doctor administering a sodium solution to correct Reubyne Jr.'s salt levels after misreading a note.

Dr. Cynthia Tinsley, a pediatrician who specializes in critically ill children, testified this week that a rapid drop in sodium levels and correcting the problem too quickly can cause bleeding to the brain.

But injuries to Reubyne Jr.'s brain were not caused by administering the salt solution, but by a violent shaking, Tinsley said yesterday.

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