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Doctor says boy won’t recover from brain damage father is accused of causing

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WARNING: Some may find the contents of this story disturbing to read

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The doctor who treated a baby boy two years ago told a Mahoning County jury Wednesday morning the child suffered abuse and may never recover.

The baby’s father, Eric Pendland, is now on trial, charged with causing those injuries.

As Pendland sat quietly with his attorney, the doctor explained his then-infant son’s condition.

“He was gravely ill,” Dr. Paul McPherson said.

McPherson is the medical director of the child abuse clinic at Akron Children’s Hospital.

He was called in to see Pendland’s baby the morning after he arrived at the hospital with serious head and neck injuries.

“He had bleeding on his brain, mainly in the left side of his brain. There was some blood between the two halves of his brain,” McPherson said.

Proscutors say Pendland shook the baby so violently in March 2017, the child is now blind and permanently disabled.

Although the defense claims the baby may have suffered a seizure, McPherson told the jury while staff checked for other medical problems that could have caused the injuries, they couldn’t find any.

“This was likely a shaking-type mechanism that caused his head to flail uncontrollably and violently back and forth, side to side,” he said.

The doctor compared the impact on the baby’s head to someone shaking a small container of Jello.

“That banging of the Jello inside that cup is analogous to the type of trauma that the brain experiences when it’s being shaken back and forth,” McPherson said.

At one point, prosecutors showed a photo of the baby’s MRI, comparing it to one from a normal child at the same age. The doctor explained the darker image showed the extent of the damage.

“This type of injury in the brain he will not fully recover from,” McPherson said.

Prosecutors rested Wednesday afternoon. Jury deliberations could begin Thursday.

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