Dinah Paige Whited receives a kiss from her maternal grandmother, Paige Cason-Barrett, Wednesday night at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution was in Dinah's room with the permission of Paige Cason-Barrett. Craig Schneider / cschneider@ajc.com
Photo: Craig Schneider / AJC
Photo: Craig Schneider / AJC

Baby Dinah, a victim of battering, nears death in hospital

Today could be little Dinah Paige Whited's last day alive, as family members say they are preparing for doctors to remove the baby from life support.

Dinah was severely beaten in April — her parents were both charged with child cruelty — and has been at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston ever since. 

"Dinah is never going to wake up," said her maternal grandmother, Paige Cason-Barrett of Monroe. "Dinah is tired. She's tired of fighting."

An Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter spent Wednesday night with the baby's family at the hospital, where doctors performed the first of two tests to determine whether the child is brain dead.

In her room in the pediatric intensive-care unit, Dinah appeared motionless. She had tubes in her nose and mouth. She looked pale and family members said she felt a little cool. They put on her red socks. A teddy bear lay at the foot of her metal hospital crib.

During the test, Dinah was removed from the ventilator to see whether she could breathe on her own. She did not breathe for several minutes before doctors placed her back on life support,  Cason-Barrett said.

That test will be repeated this morning. If Dinah fails to breathe on her own again, doctors will determine she is deceased, Cason-Barrett said.

Dinah was only 7 weeks old when Monroe police arrested her father, Justin Whited, and her mother, Jamie Cason Whited. Justin Whited was charged with child cruelty and aggravated battery; Jamie Whited was charged with child cruelty for failing to protect her baby, police said.

When Dinah was taken to Egleston on April 23, doctors found she had bleeding on the brain, several broken ribs and two fractures of her collarbone.

Both parents have claimed they are not responsible for the baby's injuries, authorities say. 

Dinah gained public attention and sympathy when it became apparent that her father, who police say is responsible for the abuse, also had the final word on removing her from life support.

He had declined to agree to removing the child from life support, even after the baby's mother agreed to the measure. Authorities say that should the child die, the charges against Justin Whited could escalate to murder.

The tests for brain death, if confirmed, apparently will enable the hospital to legally remove the baby from life support.

The family was asking authorities today to allow Jamie Whited to see her daughter before she dies. She and her husband remain in jail.

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