PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – A Phoenix father is facing child abuse charges after allegedly shaking his baby boy so hard it caused a subdural hemorrhage, which, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, “is among the deadliest of all head injuries.”
Police arrested Andrew Marc Joseph Pittman, 24, late Monday night.
According to court documents, police received a call in the afternoon about a child not breathing.
“Officers arrived on scene and contacted [Pittman] who reported [giving] his 4-month-old son a bottle and placing him in a crib, then finding him five minutes later not breathing,” reads the probable cause for arrest statement.
The baby was taken to Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Doctors there diagnosed the subdural hemorrhage and “complications from the trauma.” They also said there was evidence of an older hemorrhage.
The baby’s prognosis was not immediately available.
"A subdural hematoma is most often the result of a severe head injury," according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. "This type of subdural hematoma is among the deadliest of all head injuries. The bleeding fills the brain area very rapidly, compressing brain tissue."
Shaking can cause this kind of injury in babies because their neck muscles are weak and often unable "to support their heavy heads."
"If a baby is forcefully shaken, his or her fragile brain moves back and forth inside the skull," explains the Mayo Clinic.
The results can be devastating.
“Shaken baby syndrome destroys a child's brain cells and prevents his or her brain from getting enough oxygen.” according to the Mayo Clinic. “Shaken baby syndrome is a form of child abuse that can result in permanent brain damage or death.”
Police interviewed Pittman and said “he admitted to shaking his 4-month-old baby son while the child was crying, during the time he was putting the baby down for a nap.”
Police said Pittman also admitted shaking the baby “sometime in December 2018.”
According to his court paperwork, Pittman has no criminal history. Those documents also indicate that he “has access to” a toddler. The relationship there is not clear.
Commissioner Harriet M. Bernick set a secured appearance bond of $50,000. Should Pittman post that, he will be subject to electronic monitoring and supervision by Pretrial Services.
Pittman is scheduled for a status conference on Feb. 19 and a preliminary hearing on Feb. 22.