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Jan 9, 2019

Baby Nelson Tavora Needs Urgent Surgery to Treat His Hydrocephalus Condition

Nelson Javier Tavora

A baby boy in Bella Vista needs your help. His family is trying to get funds for him to undergo much needed surgery. Nelson Javier Tavora was born almost two years ago in Dangriga and lives with his parents and a sibling in Bella Vista Village in the Toledo District. The baby boy has been suffering from a condition called hydrocephalus, which is causing his head to grow abnormally big. It is affecting his overall growth and development and his family says that his health is declining. Last weekend, a family friend reached out to News Five to share the baby’s story, so reporter Andrea Polanco went down to Bella Vista on Tuesday to speak with the family. Here’s that story.


Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Baby Nelson Javier Tavora is in bed today is crying in bed – and his mom, Jenny Tavora is trying to make him laugh. Unlike other twenty-three-month old toddlers, Nelson can’t walk; rarely talks and his little body is developing slowly.  When he was born he seemed like a healthy baby boy, but by seventeen days old his head started to grow rapidly. Shortly after, he diagnosed with a condition His parents were shocked and devastated when he was diagnosed with hydrocephalus.


Jenny Maydee Ortiz de Tavora, Mother [Translated]

“They did all the ultrasounds and he was born healthy. The ultrasounds didn’t show anything, no problems at all.”


Jesus Octavio Tavora, Father [Translated]

“I am poor. I am fifty-five years old. For me it was painful when they told me my son would die at one-year-old. But my wife has been hopeful and she carries on. And we have hope.”


Jenny Maydee Ortiz de Tavora

But ever since baby Nelson was diagnosed with the condition, his health has been rapidly deteriorating.  By the time he was six months, his head was more than three times the normal size. He needed urgent surgery – something this family simply couldn’t afford and so his head kept growing.  And it was until he was nine months old that a Good Samaritan paid for the first surgery.


Jenny Maydee Ortiz de Tavora

“At three months old, his head was growing. It was like forty-eight centimeters. It was big like this, see? He and I used to come from San Isidro to Bella Vista for church and we would only walk a short distance [to the gate] and we were tired. We would have to take turns carrying the baby. After that operation his would was going down. They took out yellow liquid from out of his head and the size went from forty-eight to thirty-eight. Right now his head is fifteen centimeters in size.”


Today, baby Nelson’s head is more than twice the size it should be. The condition hydrocephalus develops when there is cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) that surrounds and cushions the brain and spinal cord can’t drain and it then builds up. In babies, it causes the head to swell and puts pressure on the brain which can many health complications for a child. In many cases, babies are born with this condition or it can happen after birth and affect people of any age. It is caused by a number of things, including bleeding in the brain, tumor blocking the fluid, an infection or even if the fluid pathways are not fully formed. To treat it, surgeons do either a bypass or implant a device called a shunt.  If not treated, hydrocephalus stunts the baby’s development and can turn fatal. In baby Nelson’s case – that development is already being affected. His speech, his mobility, unusually small appetite, and frail little body as you can see from his arms and legs – are showing rapid signs of decline. Now, he is in urgent need of a second surgery.


Jenny Maydee Ortiz de Tavora

“The pediatrician Dangriga told me that if the baby had undergone surgery a long time ago when he was younger, there wouldn’t have been so much liquid build up. They say he has infection still and the liquid is still accumulating there.”


Andrea Polanco

“So, right now, he needs another surgery?”


Jenny Maydee Ortiz de Tavora

“Yes, he needs another operation.   As soon as possible because I want my son to be like me and you. So, that in the future he can grow up to be a man.”


A few weeks ago, baby Nelson got sick and developed an infection which caused him to lose sight in one of his eyes. Now his mom fears he may die very soon if he doesn’t get the surgery he needs.


Jenny Maydee Ortiz de Tavora

“There are times when he gets very sick. He gets so serious that I have to take him to the hospital in Dangriga.”


Andrea Polanco

“And you are worried that he may die from this condition?”


Jenny Maydee Ortiz de Tavora

“Yes. Yes. Because they told me if the doesn’t get the surgery he may die.”


Parents Jenny and Jesus Tavora describe their life as “sad”.  This poor family spends every cent they make to try to keep their son alive. When he cries, they try to make him laugh and keep him comfortable.  But the truth is that that they are struggling to deal with it. And they are in desperate need of the public’s help to try and save their baby’s life.


Jenny Maydee Ortiz de Tavora

“Our life is sad. [Crying] Here many people don’t have heart. When my son was born everyone mocked us. They called me all kinds of names. Every day I ask God to protect my son.”


Jesus Octavio Tavora

Jesus Octavio Tavora

“We are hopeful that my son can grow up to be a man like us. And if not like us, then so that he can walk and fend for himself. So, I appeal to everyone who can help my son, to do please do it. Maybe one day he will be able to talk and say thank you. The truth is that we need help. I have a lot but I can’t even build a house for us because everything I earn I spend it at the hospital for my son. There are times when we owe two hundred and three hundred dollars and I try to repay it piece by piece.”


Jenny and Jesus say they don’t know the full cost of the surgery as yet. They are in the process of setting up a bank account to collect donations for baby Nelson. Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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1 Response for “Baby Nelson Tavora Needs Urgent Surgery to Treat His Hydrocephalus Condition”

  1. ROBERT SMITH says:

    Please let me know ASAP what is the cost of this operation. I am willing to pay for it. can I get a phone number to call someone that is in charge.

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