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Julio’s Story

VNSNY Maternity, Newborn & Pediatrics Enriches Julio and His Family’s Lives

Julio and his care teamFor 12-year-old Julio*, progress can be measured in the details of daily life: the bites of empanada he eats with his family, the syllables of communication he can speak, and the broad smile he flashes when his favorite topics come up: Real Madrid, girls, and going to school.

Following a devastating brain hemorrhage and a year in the hospital, Julio could barely move or speak and was dependent on a feeding tube. VNSNY put together a comprehensive team to help him and his family on all fronts: nursing, social work, and physical, occupational, and speech therapy. The clinicians work in close collaboration with Julio’s parents, who are becoming educated in caring and advocating for their only child.

“Communication and eating are two of the biggest quality-of-life things we take for granted,” says VNSNY speech-language pathologist Jonathan Wise, who visits twice a week to work with Julio on strengthening his oral motor muscles and expanding his breath support. “I can’t tell you the joy that comes from such a basic thing in life: his mom being able to cook for him, dad being able to feed him. It’s such a human connection.”

VNSNY social worker Johana Guerra has helped Julio’s family navigate the health care and social support systems, including finding Spanish translators to overcome the language barrier. She has connected them with charitable funding for his considerable medical supplies and potential housing. Major next steps, still in the works, include enrolling Julio in school and equipping him with a speech-generating device so he can communicate all that is on his active mind.

* The patient’s name has been changed for privacy.

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