“They are very caring, very helpful and professional. They pay attention to the whole spectrum of everything.”
When Jeremiah Birdsall arrived at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of Swedish Medical Center on an October afternoon in 2012, his son had just been born through an emergency caesarian section. Little Benjamin Birdsall was eight weeks early and weighed just three pounds. Jeremiah and the mother were not a couple or married, but Jeremiah decided that he needed to take care of the baby. Little Benjamin’s health and development were damaged by fetal alcohol syndrome and he would have significant medical needs for the rest of his life. Jeremiah attained legal custody of the boy and began taking the boy to a managed care facility that was covered through his employer-sponsored insurance, but the father felt like he was being run through a system and did not get personal attention. His friend, who has a special needs child, recommended Rocky Mountain Youth Clinics. So, when Benjamin was three months old, Jeremiah began taking the baby to see Dr. Denise Vidas at the Thornton office of Rocky Mountain Youth Clinics.
“Denise has just always been awesome since the day we met her,” Jeremiah said. “Since I started coming here, they’re a lot more involved and spend a lot more time. Our doctor visits are really long. Denise has always focused on what my son needed. I love it.”
Since Benjamin was born, he’s had a series of complex medical problems, affecting his reproductive organs, lungs, spine, speech and digestive system. He was on oxygen until he was six months old. He had major spine surgery at a year old, followed by braces to help him walk. He’s had speech, physical and occupational therapy almost weekly to help him walk, communicate do everyday functions. He has seen a long list of specialists, including a neurosurgeon and urologist. He’s had five operations and expects to have more. And at 2 years old, Benjamin is the size of an 11-month-old and he can say only a few words. From his first days at Rocky Mountain Youth Clinics, Benjamin has been participating in the Thrive Clinic, which offers specialized nutritional support to help children grow at a more normal rate, as well as giving access to free nutritious food from the clinic’s food pantry.
Keeping up with the medical problems and treatments has been overwhelming to the father, who is single and has re-arranged his life to take care of the boy.
“I never went to the doctor unless I had to. All this doctor experience was new to me. They’ve made everything so easy and helped me to understand everything. In the beginning, I didn’t know anything they were telling me. It was really hard to get a hold of the doctors and get all the answers. Denise would do it right away. She got everybody an answer the next day.”
Jeremiah looks at his son and credits Denise and the staff at Rocky Mountain Youth Clinics for the boy’s growth and better health, saying he could not have gotten to where he is without the clinic’s help.
“They are very caring, very helpful and professional. They pay attention to the whole spectrum of everything,” the father said. “Just seeing him, how much he’s come since he started coming here. That’s what I think about when I think about Denise and Rocky Mountain Youth Clinics.”