The life of 7-month-old Colton, the son of Paige Ferguson and Blake Linton, will never be the same again after he fell off a 2-foot high bed and fractured his skull. During his emergency operation, Colton had suffered a cardiac arrest that led to severe brain damage and the strong possibility of a future with cerebral palsy.
In a video on Facebook, Paige shared her family's devastating story. She recalled they were at a friend’s house when Colton, her first baby (she has a stepson with Blake), fell asleep. They did not have a crib or bassinet with them, so the mom laid Colton down on a queen-sized bed in a nearby bedroom. She laid pillows around him to prevent him from rolling off the bed and left the room.
Later, Paige heard a loud thump and then Colton who was loudly crying. He had rolled off and fell two feet from the bed. After Blake scooped him up, they saw Colton had a bump on his head, but he was crying and alert. Although they thought it was a minor injury, they still decided to bring him to a hospital where Colton started to projectile vomit — a red flag that told the doctor his injury was serious.
Scans revealed that Colton suffered a fractured skull, and there was bleeding in his brain. He needed to be airlifted and immediately transferred to another hospital for emergency surgery.
Paige wrote on Facebook, “I completely lost it. I couldn't fathom the idea that something that seemed so minor causing damage like that. I remember just crying and crying.”
She also shared that, at that moment, she was overcome with guilt and blamed herself for deciding to lay their sleeping baby down on the bed.
When they were transferred to the other hospital, 20 doctors and nurses were already there prepping for Colton’s emergency surgery to get the blood out of his brain. Paige said her son had 200 ccs of blood in his head. A normal baby of Colton’s age and size would have 400 ccs for his entire body, the doctor told her.
Colton went into cardiac arrest during surgery. “The injury was what caused him to bleed into his brain,” said Paige, but the cardiac arrest, which deprived Colton’s brain of oxygen for nearly 10 minutes, is what caused the little boy’s severe brain damage.
Seeing her son in the ICU was “the most horrible thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life,” the mom said. Colton couldn’t breathe on his own and was attached to a ventilator. “You could just tell that his body was going through so much.”
Doctors told the parents that their son was most likely going to die and if he did survive, the cardiac arrest would leave him in a vegetative state. Colton stayed in the hospital for a month and underwent another brain surgery, blood transfusions, and more tests and scans. Then a miracle happened. Colton started breathing on his own and opened his eyes. The family was sent home a week after the month-long stay.
Doctors expect the baby to have cerebral palsy when he grows older. Today, he is fed through a tube and has severe epilepsy, which requires him to take seizure medication. Paige tells People that Colton is not the same baby now as he was before the fall from the bed. He doesn’t babble anymore and is very irritable and stiff.
“I love Colton more today than I did yesterday or the day before that. But, it's so hard not to miss the person he was,” she wrote in a Facebook post.
“As a mommy, we are supposed to protect our children and sometimes it’s hard not to think that I failed him,” she writes in another post. “Colton's ‘normal’ life has been ripped away from him and every dream I've ever had for him feels so far out of reach. I’d do anything in this world to hear him laugh, to see him smile at me and to hear him babble away to me.”
To other parents, Paige sent out a plea, “Please do not leave your baby on a bed unattended, no matter how safe you feel they are; not even for a split second,” she told Babble. “And if your child sustains a bump to the head, be safe and get them evaluated…Colton cried, and even smiled, but he wasn’t fine.”
According to local pediatrician Dr. Jamie Isip-Cumpas and international expert co-sleeping and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Dr. James McKenna, babies should never be left alone and unattended on an adult bed.
If the parents and baby co-sleep at night, the ideal setup is to have a mattress on the floor in the middle of a room, away from walls, sharp objects or edges, and bed frames. Moreover, “the bed should not have any stuffed animals or pillows around the infant,” said Dr. McKenna, as they posed suffocation risks.
If your baby falls off a bed or bumps his head, observe for symptoms of a serious injury such as loss of consciousness, jerking movements in the arms and legs, and vomiting. These are signs of a bleed in the brain, says pediatrician Dr. Faith Buenaventura-Alcazaren.