About half-way through the story, the reporters added the word "preventing" to a quote by the maternal grandmother. She had apparently said she was going to become "a huge advocate for abuse and shaken baby syndrome".
A small thing, but in a way it's telling: those who suddenly find themselves volunteers in the effort to prevent inflicted injury often lack the words to move the focus from consequences to the prevention.
Family determined to bring good out of baby's survival story
by: Jeffrey Wolf and: Cheryl Preheim
BOULDER - A 2-month-old who doctors did not think would survive was released from the
hospital on Monday evening.
His father, 27-year-old Ben Koller, is in jail accused of shaking, hitting, biting and suffocating his infant son. Social Services has given custody of Baby Jack to his grandmother, Claudia Riggs, his mom's mother. "I am just glad he's home," Riggs said. "The first few days they told us that he wasn't going to survive.
But everyday he's been amazing us. He just keeps getting better and better." The 2-month-old has survived what seemed like the impossible. "Three weeks ago, if you would have seen him, you would have thought it was time to plan a funeral," said Mark Schmidt, the baby's grandfather, also on his mother's side.
Jack Koller had a fractured skull and couldn't breathe or eat on his own. He was also blind, but has regained his sight. "The MRI showed significant brain damage," Schmidt said. "It's horrendous. The one person who was supposed to be protecting was the person he knew to have the most fear about."
Police say Koller shook the baby when he wouldn't stop crying. Koller is being held at the Boulder County Jail on a $1 million bond. He faces charges of child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury.
Now, after 20 days at The Children's Hospital in Aurora, Riggs and Jack got to leave together. Riggs says they leave with a greater purpose. "He was happy to walk outside," she said. "It would be my hope that this would never happen again to another child. Somehow we are going to make really good things come out of this."
At home in Boulder, gifts were waiting from friends to help Riggs, who has just left her job as a ibrarian to be a full-time grandma to care for Jack. "I know I am going to become a huge advocate for [preventing] abuse and shaken baby syndrome. I may have a new career," she said.
Jack's mother is 20 years old and says she did not know about the abuse. She will be allowed to have supervised visits and she is getting parenting classes and counseling.
As for Jack's long term prognosis, doctors say they'll know more with time but he could have challenges with walking, talking and could have learning disabilities. But he's already shown he's a fighter so his family expects great things.
While Baby Jack still has a long recovery ahead, at least he gets to continue it at home. "This is a wonderful day. He is a miracle," Riggs said. As she held him in her arms, she told him, "We are all here to protect you and take care of you."
Riggs wants to make sure every day is a day they can look forward too. "Grandma is going to give you a bath tomorrow. We have a big day planned," she said. "I just want Jack to know he's very loved. I want to one day take him for a walk in the park. It will be a special day when that day comes," Schmidt said.