Anything for Their Baby: Itzel’s Story

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David and Dayana are a young couple from a rural Bolivian town who went against all odds to save their baby’s mobility. Their inspirational family story is a testament to the love that we see everyday from our patients’ families who will do anything to get the surgical care their loved ones deserve.

David and Dayana fell in love in high school and were working as agricultural workers when they found out they were expecting a child. They were excited to welcome their daughter Itzel into the world, but Dayana had a traumatic delivery experience.

During delivery, baby Itzel suffered from brachial plexus, a childbirth injury where midwives pull the arms of newborns while attempting to extract them from the birth canal. This pulling of the arm dislocates and severs the nerves, requiring surgery shortly after birth to reattach and regrow new nerve endings.

Itzel would need highly specialized nerve transfer surgery within her first year for a chance at gaining mobility in her arm. However, local healthcare providers were neither aware of this timeline nor trained in the necessary procedure. In fact, it was nearly impossible to find a surgeon in all of Bolivia who was qualified to perform the complicated operation.

Just seven short months after Itzel’s birth, Dr. Jorge Terrazas of La Paz was already thinking about the very type of surgery that Itzel would require. As a seasoned surgical partner of ReSurge International and one of the few formally trained hand surgeons in Bolivia, Dr. Terrazas had a long-standing mission to improve the country’s reconstructive surgical capacity. He was well aware that his team frequently encountered nerve cases and was eager to learn more about peripheral nerve transfers. So he approached ReSurge for advanced training on this technique, knowing that it could make a significant difference in the lives of patients like Itzel.

In response, ReSurge organized a Surgical Team Training Trip to Bolivia, bringing in a team of international medical volunteers, including Dr. Amy Moore, a renowned expert in peripheral nerve transfer from The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Alongside Programa Manitos, a local partner foundation, Dr. Terrazas conducted a radio campaign throughout Bolivia to identify cases and offer free reconstructive surgical care to those in need. It was during this campaign that Dayana heard about the opportunity and realized it could be the key to changing everything for her daughter Itzel.

David and Dayana knew they had to take a leap of faith. With little more than hope and determination, the couple embarked on a grueling 20-hour journey to give their daughter a chance at a better life. They brought a bag of clothes for the baby, and the three of them jumped on a bus to travel to Santa Cruz to meet the ReSurge team at the clinic.

“We found out about the surgery on Friday and traveled 20 hours by bus to give our baby a chance,” said David. “We dropped everything and made it here by Sunday. We will do whatever it takes for our baby. We are here for each other and for our daughter. We want her to have a better chance in life.”

Dayana

When Itzel arrived at the hospital, the ReSurge medical team evaluated her and determined that she was a good candidate for surgery.

Thanks to the dedication of our medical teaching volunteers, the local Bolivian team and the unwavering love of her parents, Itzel made a full recovery. She was able to regain the mobility she had lost at birth.

“Words cannot describe how grateful we are to the medical team at ReSurge International,” said Daynana. “They gave our daughter a chance at a better life, and we will never forget their kindness and generosity.”

Dayana

Itzel’s inspirational family story is a testament to the power of a mother’s love and the importance of access to quality healthcare. At ReSurge International, we believe that every child deserves the chance to reach their full potential, regardless of where they are born or their economic circumstances. Through our work, we are helping to provide hope and healing to children and families in need around the world.

The young couple are still very much in love, with each other, and their baby Itzel who is now almost two years old.

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