MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - A Minneapolis baby is making tremendous progress as he works to recover from near-death after being shaken by his father.
Doctors say Dylan is showing incredible improvements but will be recovering from the shaking for the rest of his life.
Thursday, five-month-old Dylan was holding his head up and rolling over. These are milestones other babies often reach a younger age, but for Dylan, they are enormous victories.
"He loves proving us all wrong and he is the strongest baby I’ve ever seen in my life," said his mother Rachael Mohr.
Dylan was born happy and healthy last summer but, by eight weeks old, Rachael noticed Dylan's head was starting to swell.
"The day I brought him to the hospital, I had witnessed my son being dropped," said Rachael. "And at the time I thought it was an accident. Although now, I don’t think it was."
That day, emergency room doctors at M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital found Dylan had a traumatic brain injury consistent with being shaken. He was in shock and not responding.
"When I brought Dylan in, his eyes were fixed left and looking down," Rachael explained. "And they thought maybe he was having a seizure. But in fact, Dylan was dying and they rushed him back to a trauma room."
"They can see the frontal brain; the brain damage is dead," lamented Rachael. "It will not heal. It will not be able to repair. The tissue is just dead."
It was quickly determined the abuse done to Dylan by his father was not a one-time event.
Not only was Dylan's skull fractured with his brain bleeding, but he also had lacerations behind both eyes, nine broken ribs, cuts to his spleen and liver, and bruising to his scrotum and testicles. A priest was brought in to baptize Dylan as his life remained in danger. But, after more than a week of taking his life minute by minute, Dylan opened his eyes.
"I was amazed he survived," added Dr. Nancy Harper, who cared for Dylan as the medical director for the Center for Safe and Healthy Children. "That he lived and that he left our hospital. He had more injures in one baby then I've seen in my 20-year career doing child abuse pediatrics."
After nearly six weeks in the hospital, Dylan continues to gradually defy the odds. At the new Safe Child Clinic, he’s nicknamed the “Miracle Baby” despite his cognitive ability and future being unknown. Through it all, his mom has never given up hope. She's sharing his story, hoping other caregivers of our youngest and most vulnerable will think of him when babies cry, the way babies do.
"You are going to be mentally exhausted, but just walk away for just a second; it could literally save your child's life," said Rachael.
Dylan's father quickly confessed to abusing his son. He's now serving a three-year prison sentence plus 18 months of probation. His parental rights are in the process of being removed from all of three of the children that he and Rachael share.
As Dylan heals, his mom has left work to care for him and his two and 10-year-old sisters full-time, with an average of four to five specialty doctor visits each week. His grandma is also taking a leave of absence for her job to help.
The family has started a GoFundMe campaign to aid in the recovery.