of the month

By Rich Petersen

José de Jesús Cortez Sánchez


child-june2012Our child this month is 9-month old José de Jesús Cortez Sánchez. He is the youngest of three children who lives with his parents in Chapala. José was born with a cleft lip and palate. You may have seen children with this birth anomaly, not that uncommon actually, occurring in approximately one in 700 newborns. These children have an elongated opening in the upper lip that may range from a small notch in the upper lip, to an opening that extends into the base of the nostril. The cleft lip may be below the right or left nostril, or below both nostrils. (NOTE TO READERS: this condition used to be called “hare lip,” but this term is now considered insensitive, hence the term “cleft lip/ palate.”)

Causes for a cleft lip/palate are multifactorial, i.e., many contributing factors:  genetic (inherited), tobacco or alcohol use during pregnancy, some prescription drug interactions, and also the mother’s nutrition. Surgery to correct this deformity is actually uncomplicated, and should be performed within the first one-to-three months of age, the goal being to close the gap in the upper lip, place scars in the natural skin curves and to repair muscle so that the lip appears normal during movement.  Little José de Jesús’s surgery had to be postponed because of a couple of bouts of a cold and fever, plus the little guy wasn’t gaining weight. 

Not being able to eat enough is the number one problem in children with a cleft lip/palate because due to the lip/palate deformity, they cannot achieve sufficient suction on a nipple (natural or otherwise) to take in the necessary calories. Prior to surgery, cleft palate/lip babies must use a different type of nipple on their feeding bottles, a nipple which here in Mexico costs $25-30 USD, and these need to be replaced several times a month.

José has had his first surgery and is already eating better according to his mother, Ana Yésica. When we first met him he could not smile in a “normal” way, but at our last meeting he was able to smile much more easily, especially when given a small teddy bear to play with.

Niños Incapacitados has been assisting José and his family with reimbursement for the special nipples, for transportation to and from Guadalajara to see his doctors pre- and post-op, and for the medications he needs right now to avoid any infection. In Mexico this type of surgery is free of charge for any newborn, excluding of course any medicines or special circumstances. In Guadalajara there is a special hospital called the Hospital for Reconstructive Surgery where these procedures are done. Also there is a worldwide organization called “Operation Smile” which travels to almost every country to provide free cleft lip/palate surgeries to children. When they are in Mexico, Niños Incapacitados is notified so we can refer any of our children to them so the surgery can take place perhaps sooner than would be expected.

Little José will require at least two more surgeries as well as some speech therapy before his face is fully back to “normal.”  We will keep you posted on his progress.

NOTE:  Niños Incapacitados “takes the summer off” as far as regular monthly meetings go; thus, we will meet again on Thursday, September 13. Same time and place---10:00 a.m. in one of the meeting rooms of the Hotel Real de Chapala in La Floresta. Please join us to learn more about what we do and to meet another of “our” children. Our bimonthly meetings with parents and children to reimburse them for medical expenses does continue throughout the summer, and fundraising activities are ongoing.  And over the summer you will still read about some of our children here in the Ojo.


Pin It
Child of the MonthBy Nicole Sergent   May 2018 Izel April 2018 Maria Guadalupe A.T. March 2018 Meet The Children January
The Dark Side Of The Dream By Alejandro Grattan-Dominguez, Arte Publico Press 434 pages $11.95 US Reviewed by ROB MOHR (Initially published in The
CHILD of the month By Rich Petersen José de Jesús Beltrán Velazco   This handsome 15-year old is José de Jesús Beltrán Velazco. “Chuy”
CHILD of the month By Rich Petersen Juan Antonio Galaviz Vaca   Bright and smiling, this is two-year old Juan Antonio Galaviz Vaca who lives in
CHILD of the month By Rich Petersen Ulises Saúl Guerrero Velázquez   What a great name, eh? This is “almost” 9-year old Ulises Saúl Guerrero
Wordwise With Pithy Wit By Tom Clarkson   This morning, my pal F.T. – who shared the Iraq experience with me during my third trek there – forwarded
  VICTORIA SCHMIDT   Column: Editor’s Page   Website:   Victoria Schmidt came to Mexico with her husband, in 2007. 
    MOONYEEN PATRICIA KING   Column: Profiling Tepehua   Website:   Settled in Mexico 13 years ago.  The
  ALEJANDRO GRATTAN-DOMINGUEZ   Column: Editor’s Page   Website:   Wrote/directed first movie about Mexican-Americans, Only
  KEN MASSON   Column: Bridge by the Lake   Website:   Ken Masson has been playing, teaching and writing about bridge
 Find us on Facebook