Brittany and Brandon Shinn welcomed their first child, Nathan, into the world on April 8, 2004. Nathan was born with severe disabilities, and while Brittany and Brandon knew that challenges would come with having a special needs child, they never expected that Nathan's life and their own lives would be forever altered by one of their son's nurses.
When Nathan was just 9 months old, Brandon and Brittany took Nathan to the hospital, concerned because their young son was not gaining any weight. Nathan's doctors and nurses were as concerned as his parents, and elected to admit Nathan in order to treat him. Brittany and Brandon were used to hospital visits by then, and they spent hours by the side of their little boy that night, hoping he'd improve.
When Brittany and Brandon returned the next morning, Brandon noticed that Nathan's head was swollen and appeared to be injured. Nathan recoiled in pain when his father touched the red, inflamed spot on his small head – terrifying Brittany and Brandon. They immediately expressed their concern to the hospital staff, having no idea what might have caused this. They thought they had left Nathan in the most capable hands possible. After a CAT scan, Brandon and Brittany received horrifying news: the test revealed multiple skull fractures and bleeding on the brain of their little boy.
There was nothing to explain these injuries – no prior condition, nothing in Nathan's chart – so the hospital notified police, suspecting child abuse. Because Brittany and Brandon had spent several hours by their son's bedside the night before, the hospital looked to them first. They were shocked that the hospital would accuse them of such a terrible thing, as they were only doing what any two parents would do: sitting by their child's side and worrying, praying, and hoping for his improvement.
The police investigated for weeks. Brittany and Brandon, already buckling under the stress of their son's injuries, submitted to lie-detector tests to clear their names. After they passed and were cleared of any wrongdoing, the attending personnel at the hospital were asked to submit to lie detector tests.
It was only then that a hospital nurse confessed to causing the terrible injury to Nathan. She had lifted Nathan from his crib, dropping his feeding tube to the floor. While still holding Nathan in her arms, the nurse tried to reach the feeding tube on the floor. Nathan's head hit a table, causing four skull fractures and a subdural hematoma. Rather than reporting the incident, Nathan's nurse put him back in bed. Her careless, egregious error would forever change the lives of the Shinns.
In 2006, an Oklahoma jury found the hospital at fault for Nathan's injuries. With the damages that were awarded, Brandon & Brittany want to change the lives of special needs children for the better. Brandon and Brittany know firsthand the not only the joys, but also the challenges, of being parents to a special needs child. It's their wish to not only ease the some of those daily challenges but also to increase the quality of life for the children and families who need it the most.