tampabay.com

Parents of baby face inquiry

Two months after suffering a broken leg, he is treated for a skull fracture.

By REBECCA CATALANELLO
Published September 13, 2006


A 3-month-old boy is in his grandmother's custody less than two months after his parents accused St. Joseph's Children's Hospital of breaking his leg.

Pat Frame, 46, of Valrico said she picked up her grandson, Ethan Bashara, at All Children's Hospital on Sept. 3 after he had been treated for a skull fracture.

Officials from the Florida Department of Children and Families, she said, asked her to care for the boy.

In July, Leann Bashara, 29, and her husband Brian, 25, told reporters they brought their infant son to St. Joseph's because he couldn't keep his formula down, but were outraged when the hospital called in child abuse investigators.

The Basharas at the time contended hospital workers broke the baby's leg while strapping him down during a radiology procedure.

The hospital responded that there was no evidence that the baby had been abused while in their care.

Now, Hillsborough Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Debbie Carter said, they are investigating the family, though she would not go into details. DCF spokesman Andy Ritter referred all questions about an investigation to the Sheriff's Office on Monday. No charges have been filed in this case.

Frame said that her daughter came home from work on the evening of Aug. 29 to find Ethan with what appeared to be head injuries. The baby had been in Brian Bashara's care during the day, Frame said.

Leann Bashara took Ethan to an after-hours clinic, but they soon sent the child to All Children's Hospital, where doctors diagnosed a skull fracture, and also discovered three fractured ribs which no one knew about, Frame said.

Baby Ethan was hospitalized there for the next four days. Frame said the family has been in court to discuss Ethan's care. She remembered that a judge commented that, "This baby's had more broken bones than most adults have their whole lives."

Two other, older children who were also living in their Westchase area home are now living elsewhere, too, Frame said.

Shortly after the couple and their attorney, Kimberley M. Kohn, spoke with reporters about their frustrations with St. Joseph's Hospital in late July, deputies arrested Brian Bashara on domestic violence charges.

According to the Aug. 17 arrest record, the couple was lying in bed at their home, 9420 Georgian Park Lane, Unit 103, when Leann Bashara asked her husband to feed the baby.

The arresting deputy wrote that Brian Bashara responded by striking his wife on the head with his hand. The case went to court, but it was closed on Aug. 25 without any prosecution.

Brian Bashara has been arrested three times in 2006 by the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office, records show. On July 20, he was charged with burglary and on Jan. 18 drug possession. Other arrests have included fleeing to elude police, driving under the influence and altering a driver's license.

The Basharas could not be reached for comment. An attempt to reach Kohn, the family's attorney, on her cell phone Tuesday night was unsuccessful. On Monday, Kohn declined to comment about the latest development involving her clients. In the past, Kohn said that Bashara's arrest record were not relevant to Ethan's care, noting the couple was allowed to bring their baby home from the hospital.

Public records show that the Basharas have been married since April 20, 2004.

Times researcher Cathy Wos contributed to this report. Rebecca Catalanello can be reached at 813 226-3383 or rcatalanello@sptimes.com.