Doctors Want Charges Dropped In Infant Rat Poison Death
Medical Experts Say Criminal Prosecution Not Appropriate
6:43 AM, Apr 1, 2011
A group of medical experts is calling for charges to be dropped against a woman who admitted to authorities she ingested rat poison when she was 33 weeks pregnant, resulting in the death of her child days after birth.Bei Bei Shuai, 34, has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and attempted feticide.Her daughter, Angel Shuai, was born alive on Dec. 31 but died on Jan. 3, after suffering from a brain hemorrhage because her mother took the poison, investigators said.Shuai told police that she wanted to kill herself after her boyfriend left her.Dr. David Orentlicher, a law professor at the Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis and an adjunct professor of medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine, filed a friend of the court brief calling criminal prosecution inappropriate in the case.The 11-page brief represents the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, women's groups, and other supporters."This was a depressed, seriously depressed woman who acted out of an irrational despair and tried to kill herself and, unfortunately, the fetus was harmed," Orentlicher told 6News' Derrik Thomas. "She had no intent to harm her fetus. That was not the reason she did this."Shuai's attorney, Linda Pence, has filed a motion to dismiss. A similar case has never been brought in Indiana courts, though Shuai's defense team said there is case law from other states."The mother controls her body. The mother has a right to live. This is not the place to address these horrid kinds of situations," Pence said last month. "Criminal justice is not the place where you take care of these things."Dave Rimstidt, Marion County chief trial deputy, had said that careful consideration was given before charging Shuai. He declined to comment on the new brief.Shuai is being held without bond in the Marion County Jail. A hearing in the case is scheduled for Tuesday.