Doctors said this week that the severity of an infant’s injuries indicated he died from blunt-force or abusive head trauma.
The doctors were testifying for the prosecution Tuesday and Wednesday in the trial of D’Khari Lyons, who is charged with first-degree murder and abuse of a child. He is accused of causing the injuries that led to the death of his former girlfriend’s infant son in November 2018.
Lyons is being retried at the Riley County District Courthouse after a jury couldn’t reach unanimous decisions on the charges in September.
On Nov. 8, 2018, police and emergency medical personnel responded to a report that 12-week-old Michael Calvert Jr. had trouble breathing that morning. Michael’s mother, Jessica Hudson, testified Tuesday that she had briefly left her son in Lyons’ care while she took her other children to school. When she returned, she said Michael was breathing irregularly, and she noticed bruises on his chest and face.
Emergency responders eventually flew Michael to Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, where he died three days later.
Officials determined Michael died from blunt force or abusive head trauma after sustaining injuries and bruises around his chest, head, face, spine and skull, as well as internal bleeding around his brain and spinal cord. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says abusive head trauma in children is caused by “violent shaking and/or with blunt impact.”
Dr. Daniel Davignon, a pediatric radiologist at Children’s Mercy, had examined MRI and CT scans taken at both Ascension Via Christi and Children’s Mercy hospitals. He said the scans at Via Christi showed blood outside the brain, and scans taken later that day at Children’s Mercy showed worsening injuries including blood outside the brain and swelling brain tissue that was pushing down through the base of the skull.
Davignon said patients exhibiting these types of injuries would have a “very poor prognosis” and typically die.
Dr. Matthew Foster, an emergency room physician at Via Christi, said Tuesday he helped care for and assess Michael when he was first brought to the hospital in 2018. Foster said he noted bleeding between the skull and brain, a skull fracture and developing bruises on Michael’s body. He said it was not long before doctors realized Michael’s condition needed more specialized care from a pediatric hospital.
The trial was scheduled to continue Wednesday afternoon.