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Severely shaken baby becomes Aurora parents' 'miracle' child
The Rocky Mountain News, By: Carla Crowder, News Staff Writer | November 7, 1998

Last week, Hunter Rodriguez was nearly shaken to death.

The Aurora toddler was comatose, wrapped in wires and monitor, clinging to life at Children's Hospital.

Friday, Hunter turned 15 months old. And he did it giggling in his mother's arm, eating normal toddler food and free of medical machines.

"He's come from where we thought we weren't going to get him back at all," said his mother, Jacqueline Rodriguez. "He is a miracle."

Doctors diagnosed Hunter's injuries as consistent with shaken baby syndrome. He was admitted to Children's Hospital on Oct. 19 suffering from brain trauma and bleeding behind the eyes.

A few days later, Aurora police arrested Hunter's baby-sitter, Shawna Pint, 29 who ran a licensed residential child-care home. She was processed for investigation if felony child abuse and released from jail. Formal changes are pending, said Aurora police spokesmen Mark Hellenschmidt.

Hunter's parents, Greg and Jacqueline Rodriguez, spoke to doctors and reporters Friday at a Children's Hospital news conference.

Hunter was initially listed in critical condition in the intensive care unit. He's now improved to stable condition.

"I went in one night around 11," Jacqueline said. "He actually smiled at me. It was the best thing. And from that point, he's been improving every day."

Their son remains hospitalized, undergoing extensive therapy. But doctors say Hunter might be able to go home in several weeks.

"We would not have come this far without everyone's faith, love and compassion," Greg Rodriguez said.

Doctors won't know for a while what long-term effects Hunter will suffer from being shaken.

"I think he's making real progress," said Dr. Andy Sirotnak, director of the Kempe Child Protection Team and an expert on Shaken Baby Syndrome. "But we have to tell parents, in all honesty, it's a long haul."

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