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Parents’ experiences of seeking health care and encountering allegations of shaken baby syndrome: A qualitative study

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dc.contributor.author Högberg, U., Eriksson, G., Högberg, G., & Wahlberg, Å.
dc.date.accessioned 2021-05-03T17:09:51Z
dc.date.available 2021-05-03T17:09:51Z
dc.date.issued 2020
dc.identifier.citation Högberg, U., Eriksson, G., Högberg, G., & Wahlberg, Å. (2020). Parents’ experiences of seeking health care and encountering allegations of shaken baby syndrome: A qualitative study. PLoS one, 15(2), e0228911. en_US
dc.identifier.uri https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0228911
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/11212/5072
dc.description.abstract Objectives To explore parents’ experiences of seeking health care for their children and instead being accused by healthcare professionals of Shaken Baby Syndrome/Abusive Head Trauma (SBS/AHT), being reported to Social Services, undergoing judiciary processing, and the impact of these events on family (dis)integration. Methods Design: A qualitative study based on qualitative content analysis. Participants: Twelve parents in Sweden, mothers and fathers, seeking health care for their infants, encountering allegations of SBS/AHT, losing custody of their infants, and being subjected to a judiciary process, and finally regaining custody of their children. Data collection: In-depth interviews. Results An overarching theme ‘Fighting for protection of their child after being trapped by doctors’ and four sub-themes were developed to reflect the parents’ experiences, reactions and interpretations. The first sub-theme, ‘Being accused of injuring the child’, illuminated the shock experienced when seeking care and instead being accused of being a perpetrator. The second, ‘Chaos and powerlessness’, refers to the emotions experienced when losing custody of the child and being caught in the enforcement of legislation by the authorities. The third, ´The unified fight against the doctors’ verdict´, illustrates the parents’ fight for innocence, their worry for the lost child, and their support and resistance. The fourth, ‘The wounded posttraumatic growth’, describes the emotions, grief, panic, anxiety, and challenges in reuniting the family, but also the parents’ reflections on personal growth. Unanimously, they had experienced the authorities’ inability to reconsider, and expressed a deep mistrust of paediatric care. Conclusions Being wrongly accused of child abuse and alleged SBS/AHT evoked emotions of intense stress, but parents endured because of a successful fight to regain custody of their child. However, the trauma had a long-term impact on their lives with residual posttraumatic stress symptoms and mistrust towards healthcare services and the authorities. The results provide important inferences for restoring system failures within child protection services. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.publisher PLOS ONE en_US
dc.subject shaken baby syndrome en_US
dc.subject abusive head trauma en_US
dc.subject research en_US
dc.subject International Resources en_US
dc.subject Sweden en_US
dc.subject caregiver en_US
dc.subject law en_US
dc.title Parents’ experiences of seeking health care and encountering allegations of shaken baby syndrome: A qualitative study en_US
dc.type Article en_US


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