Child Of The Month
By Barb Corol
This beautiful young lady is Yaneth Esperanza, who at birth was diagnosed with Myelomeningocele coupled with Hydrocephalus.
Normally, during the first month of pregnancy, the two sides of the spine (or backbone) join together to cover the spinal cord, spinal nerves and meninges which are the tissues covering the spinal cord. Spina Bifida refers to any birth defect involving incomplete closure of the spine. Myelomeningocele is the most severe form of spina bifida.
Babies with myelomeningocele need immediate attention and often have surgery within the first 1-2 days after birth. During this surgery doctors push the spine back into the vertebrae and close the hole to prevent infection and protect the spine. A baby who also has hydrocephalus (an accumulation of fluid in and around the brain) will require a secondary operation to place a shunt in the brain to relieve the pressure.
Yaneth would spend the first three months of her life in hospital. The next few years were no better as she would be in and out of hospital being treated for numerous life threatening infections.
The family first came to Niños Incapacitados in July of 2002. During 2002 to 2005 Yaneth was operated on and subsequently fitted with a custom made hip brace and orthopedic footwear. Because Dad had a full time job which included IMSS, the family opted not to send Yaneth to Shriners in Mexico City.
From 2006-2008, Yaneth would undergo several more surgeries. Unfortunately these surgeries did not correct her spinal problems and it was then doctors determined she would not be able to walk on her own due to paralysis in the lower half of her body. Niños Incapacitados sent her to our contact in Guadalajara for her custom wheelchair. Doctors also recommended she continue with her therapy.
According to doctors at Shriners, the location of the gap in the back often dictates what kind of adaptive aids or equipment a child with Myelomeningocele will need. Those with a gap high on the spinal column and more extensive paralysis often need to use a wheelchair, while those with a gap lower on the back may be able to use crutches, leg braces or a walker.
The family left Niños Incapacitados for two years, returning again in 2012. Since her return, Yaneth has been experiencing urinary and kidney problems and has had numerous tests to determine the best course of action. In February of this year she was finally accepted at Teleton and attends twice weekly for therapy. Yaneth now uses a “pulmonary pump or self inflating bag” to help increase her lung capacity.
Yaneth is one of the fortunate ones as she has a very caring and supportive family. We have paid for all medications, hospital consults, braces, therapy sessions, transportation to and from Hospital Civil and Teleton, studies, X-rays and just recently a new wheelchair and several miscellaneous apparatus. To date, Niños Incapacitados has paid out 85,000 pesos.
As Director of the Jocotopec Clinic, thank you for the opportunity of presenting another of our children to you.
If you would like to learn more about Niños Incapacitados, please visit our website at www.programaniños.org or call Rich Petersen (376-765-5511) or Barb Corol (376-766-5452).