Faith helped the family cope with the diagnosis

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ANDRE’S FAMILY: Linda Salas (left to right), Andre Rodriguez, Jairo Rodriguez and Alexander Rodriguez are all smiles after the wonderful care Andre received from the Maternal Fetal Medicine program at Driscoll Children’s Hospital, Neurosurgery and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).Image courtesy

Mega Doctor News

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – “He’s a kicker.”

For parents of most infants, this is a minor detail, a given. For André Caden Rodriguez’s parents, it’s a sign from God that miracles can happen.

ANDRE IN NICU: Andre’s five-month stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Driscoll Children’s Hospital was facilitated by an excellent team of doctors and nurses who ensured that André is properly cared for as he recovers from surgery. Courtesy Image

Faith is what took Linda Salas and her husband, Jairo Rodriguez, through a journey that began when Linda was 20 weeks pregnant. It was then that she received a phone call from her OB/GYN office saying that something abnormal had shown up in her blood work.

An appointment was immediately made with the Driscoll maternal-fetal medicine department. The couple prayed together as they waited for the ultrasound news.

Maternal-fetal medicine specialist Maurice Eggleston, MD, diagnosed Andre in utero with spina bifida, a condition in which the spine and spinal cord do not form properly. Additionally, they were told that Andre would have been born with Chiari II malformation and hydrocephalus, birth defects commonly associated with spina bifida. Andre would need surgery soon after the birth, news the two did not expect to hear after what had been an otherwise normal pregnancy.

“My heart sank when the doctor told us our son might be paralyzed from the hips down,” Linda said. “I couldn’t hold back my tears.”

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The couple immediately began researching a medical topic they previously knew nothing about.

Linda said their biggest supporter was Dr. Eggleston. “He gave us so much faith and strength, always reminding us how very resilient these children are.”

With the help of Dr. Eggleston, Linda was introduced to neurosurgeon Driscoll Ashley Hanna, MD, FAANS, who would perform Andre’s surgery after he was born.

“The Driscoll staff prepared us for André’s arrival,” Linda said. “They knew his diagnosis and what to do, giving me and my husband peace knowing (André) was already receiving the best care.”

Andre was born August 9, 2021 in CHRISTUS Spohn-South and was immediately transferred to NICU Level IV at Driscoll Children’s Hospital, where Dr. Hanna and her team were ready for his arrival.

“She was amazing,” Linda said of Dr. Hanna after a successful operation to close Andre’s spine.

ANDRE SMILING: Even at such a young age, Andre Rodriguez is a fighter who beat all odds. Courtesy Image

She also praised the NICU staff and doctors who cared for Andre during his five-month stay. “We are forever grateful to this team that has become our family.”

André’s family has lived in Corpus Christi for six years. Linda now says she understands why.

“Now I see how faith brought us here,” she said. “Those days when we felt defeated, those days when we cried by his bedside when he was sick, we finally saw the light.”

Linda is pleased with Andre’s progress since being discharged from Driscoll’s NICU on January 15, 2022.

“Our André is already beating the odds. He’s a kicker. He moves his legs up and down. He’s such a happy baby despite having a big back operation that took about four months to heal, to fully close.

Linda realizes that André’s journey has not been unique.

“With everyone’s help, our André is here today to tell his story. He is home thriving every day and enjoying all the little beautiful things in life. We continue to have follow-ups in Driscoll to make sure our little boy is growing up strong and healthy.