Judge Appoints Temporary Guardian For Injured Infant
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
April 16, 2004
AKRON, OHIO--A judge gave limited guardianship for 5-month-old Aiden Stein to an Akron attorney Friday, with instructions to make medical decisions for the infant, but not to end his life support, the Beacon Journal reported.
Summit County Probate Court Judge Bill Spicer appointed temporary guardianship to Ellen Kaforey at least until Wednesday. In a hearing set for that day, Judge Spicer is expected to consider Kaforey's recommendations regarding the boy's future, and to decide whether he should hear from a medical expert selected by the child's parents.
Aiden has been in a coma since March 15.
Physicians at Akron Children's Hospital claim that the infant is "brain dead" from shaken baby syndrome. They have argued that Aiden would remain blind, deaf and unaware of his surroundings -- in a "persistent vegetative state" -- if allowed to live. They recommend his ventilator and feeding tubes be removed so he will die.
Aiden's parents, Matthew Stein and Arica Heimlich, both 21, are fighting to keep their son alive. Mr. Stein denies allegations that he injured the child by violently shaking him.
The doctors have suggested that the parents want Aiden to say alive because one or both could be charged with murder if the infant dies.
At Friday's hearing, a child abuse investigator with Richland County Children Services Board testified that the agency has ordered a psychological evaluation for Mr. Stein. Among other things, the agency is concerned about his history of mental illness and assaultive behavior toward adults.
Stein testified that he stopped taking medication for bipolar disorder last year.
"My doctor had me on the stuff," he said. "I didn't need it."
Mr. Stein testified that he accidentally bumped his son's head on the rail of a bassinet. He also said that the infant's 13-year-old aunt held Aiden too high over her head, causing the boy to be struck by a ceiling fan the night before the baby's symptoms appeared.
Dr. R. Daryl Steiner of Children's Hospital testified that the injuries could only have occurred immediately before the symptoms showed up. He rejected suggestions that the injuries could have been caused by earlier accidents, such as hitting a ceiling fan or falling off a couch.
Aiden's mother said she believes his father is innocent.
"If I would have seen him hit my child, I wouldn't be with him," Heimlich said.
"Fate of 5-month-old rests in judge's hands" (Akron Beacon Journal)