There aren't too many public-safety slogans better known than "never shake a baby." It's about as common as "just say no" -- but that didn't stop a Peoria man from allegedly shaking his 6-month-old daughter to the point of unconsciousness on several occasions, as he admitted to both friends and police.
In late November, the Peoria Police Department was called to the Phoenix Children's Hospital in reference to a 6-month-old girl who had been transferred there from the Thunderbird Hospital in Glendale. The baby had severe retinal hemorrhaging in her eyes, and chronic and acute subdural bleeding on the brain.
According to court records obtained by New Times, the baby's father, 23-year-old Vincente Jorge Phillips, told hospital staff the baby had lost consciousness while he was watching her. He told doctors it was the fourth or fifth time it had happened in the past few months.
Phillips told doctors the girl would often act fussy, irritable, and lethargic before "going limp" and losing consciousness. Each time it happened, Phillips' wife -- the girl's mother -- just happened to be at work.
The way the baby was acting, police say, seemed consistent with symptoms of a baby who'd been shaken -- and that's exactly what happened to Phillips' daughter.
While interviewed at the hospital, Phillips admitted to police that he'd shaken the girl. He said he grew frustrated with the baby and had shaken her with "excessive force." He also admitted to shaking the girl several times in the past, which is consistent with the baby's previous hospital visits.
Phillips' wife told police she'd witnessed him shake the baby when the girl was as young as 2 weeks old.
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The baby, thankfully, survived the shakings -- but barely.
Hospital staff told police that without the medical attention she received she would have died.
Doctors say the girl will likely have developmental delays and some loss of vision because of the attacks. The girl will require years of treatment and evaluation to determine the extent of her injuries, doctors say.
Phillips was taken into custody yesterday. He's been charged with one felony count of child abuse.