Fabritz v. Traurig

583 F.2d 697 (1978)


P resided with her daughter, Windy, in the home of another, Crockett. Windy was three years old when. P left her with the Crocketts while she went to her grandfather's funeral in another county. P returned two days later. The child looked unwell. Crockett attributed this appearance to the bumpiness of a motorcycle ride. Windy began to suffer with cramps and to her mother seemed feverish with the flu. Bruises were noted on her body. She got more ill and then improved and began taking liquids. She got worse and was put to bed again. D telephoned a neighbor, for assistance. Windy kept getting worse. When asked about the bruises on Windy, P replied, 'Tommy hits hard.' They bathed her in alcohol and put her to bed. Windy appeared to be half asleep, neither moaning nor crying. Windy was not getting better, and they finally decided to seek medical help. They called the hospital, and when they went to get the child, she was not breathing. The diagnosis was that 18 to 24 hours before death during P's absence from home the child had been struck in the abdomen by a blunt instrument, possibly a fist, rupturing the duodenum and leading to death from peritonitis. P claimed that she had not taken Windy to the hospital because she 'was too ashamed of the bruises' on her body. P was found guilty. The Maryland Court of Appeals' concluded that P's 'inaction amounted to child abuse;' that her 'failure to obtain medical attention' constituted 'cruel or inhumane treatment;' and that this treatment was a cause of the child's 'physical injury.' P then petitioned for habeas corpus and was denied and appealed.