“I knew that he needed to be here, to receive the best possible care.”
–Michelle, Reynaldo’s Grandmother
The Beginning of a Journey
It was anything but a normal school day for 8-year-old Renaldo the first time he had a violent seizure in 2008. He fell to the ground, injured his head and was transported to the local hospital in his small town in Trinidad where he continued to have uncontrollable seizures every few hours. Doctors on the island administered high doses of adult epilepsy medication to relieve the boy, but nothing worked. This continued for months, and eventually Renaldo was placed in a medically induced coma for seven days in an effort to stop the convulsions. While Renaldo’s mind rested, Michelle, Renaldo’s grandmother in Miami, tirelessly fought to get her grandchild the care he desperately needed.
Global Health Provides Hope
Michelle was determined to bring Renaldo to Nicklaus Children's Hospital for epilepsy surgery. “I knew that Nicklaus Children's had an excellent reputation,” said Michelle. “I knew that he needed to be here to receive the best possible care.” Her daughter, the boy’s mother, also put her trust in Nicklaus Children's Hospital, formerly Miami Children's Hospital. Ms. Mapp began her quest by contacting the Global Health
(GH) Department at Nicklaus Children's Hospital, formerly Miami Children's Hospital. Annia Martinez, a GH representative, helped her make travel arrangements for Renaldo and coordinated the paperwork. “Annia and the entire Global Health staff are fantastic and made it possible for him to get to Miami,” she said.
The Trip of a Lifetime
When Renaldo’s seizures were calm enough to travel in March 2009, two doctors from Trinidad accompanied him and his grandmother on a short flight to Miami. The next day, they met with neurologists and neurosurgeons at Nicklaus Children's Hospital Comprehensive Epilepsy Center
. The team, renowned for treating medically resistant epilepsy, identified one of Renaldo’s frontal lobes as the source of the seizures. A surgery was carefully planned, with the aid of the team’s sophisticated brain-mapping techniques, to ensure that Renaldo would not sustain deficits when the diseased tissue was removed. Renaldo has been seizure free since the life-changing surgery. “If I had to do this again, I would,” said Michelle about her journey to Nicklaus Children's Hospital. Renaldo was adopted by his grandmother and lives with her in Miami. When Renaldo is off from school, they visit the nurses, doctors and Global Health staff that saved him.