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Matt Stein Charged With Aiden's Injuries
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
April 18, 2005

MANSFIELD, OHIO--Matthew Stein has been charged with felony assault and child endangerment for allegedly causing his baby son's brain damage.

Stein was arrested on April 8 and released April 12 on $50,000 bond. He has repeatedly denied accusations that he injured his son when they were alone on March 15, 2004.

Seventeen-month-old Aiden Stein was admitted to Akron Children's Hospital with injuries that doctors said were consistent with shaken-baby syndrome. They have maintained that the boy is blind, deaf, and in a persistent vegetative state. They claim that Aiden cannot recover from his injuries and that it would be in his best interest to remove the ventilator that keeps him alive.

Doctors asked a court to appoint a temporary guardian, arguing that Aiden's 22-year-old parents had a conflict of interest because at least one of them could face criminal charges if the baby dies. They have not ruled out Aiden's mother, April Heimlich, as a suspect in causing earlier traumas that doctors detected. Charges have not been filed against Heimlich.

Aiden's parents argued that the child is alert, that he responds to them, opens his eyes, holds up his own head, follows sounds, and even sits up. They believe he will recover further if given more time. They also assert that Aiden's injuries occurred during his birth.

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled in December that a lower court had no authority to appoint the temporary guardian to decide to end the child's life when the parents' rights had not yet been permanently terminated.

Permanent custody of the boy will switch to the boy's paternal grandmother in June. Dawn Mansfield said that she plans to follow the wishes of the child's parents to have the boy remain on a ventilator as long as he needs it.

Aiden's parents have not seen him since they gave up their parental rights last month.

Cases like Aiden's highlight a growing debate over whether parents or doctors should decide the course of action when a child experiences a significant brain injury.

"Doctor predicts death of boy on life support" (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
"Probate judge deals with life and death" (Akron Beacon Journal)
"Aiden Stein: Hospital Wants Baby's Life Support Removed" (Inclusion Daily Express)

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