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news News Thursday, January 17, 2019 Thursday, January 17, 2019 2:28 PM - Thursday, January 17, 2019 2:28 PM

Board of Trustees member helps Jamaican child receive life-changing care

Board of Trustees member helps Jamaican child receive life-changing care

Shriners Hospitals for Children — St. Louis Board of Governors member Joe Shivley teamed up with Poplar Bluff, Missouri pediatrician Debra Robertson, M.D., to help bring baby Isabel from Jamaica to St. Louis for life-changing brachial plexus palsy surgery.

When mom Geneva was in labor last January, Isabel "Izzy" became stuck in the birth canal for over six minutes, which caused tearing of the nerves in her arm. Though some babies with minor cases recover naturally, many require a nerve repair surgery, ideally before age 1. The Bennett family lives in South Central Jamaica in the town of May Pen, which is about two hours from the capitol of Kingston and the nearest children’s hospital.

The Bennetts knew something was wrong with Izzy’s shoulder when she was born. When Dr. Robertson came to Jamaica on a medical mission trip last July, she recognized Izzy’s condition and suggested the Bennetts take Izzy to Bustamante Children’s Hospital in Kingston. She also recommended reaching out to the Shriners, and connected them with Moolah Shriner Joe Shivley to help get Izzy an appointment. “This is why we do what we do as Shriners,” Shivley said. “This hospital works miracles.”

Despite the fact that Mr. Shivley lives in Poplar Bluff and the Bennett family lives in Jamaica, Izzy received a surgery appointment date and an emergency medical visa. The family made its way to St. Louis and she underwent surgery on January 15. The mission group Mission Four 18 and their leaders Len and Aimee Scott helped tremendously, as Geneva and dad Terrence serve as local representatives for them in Jamaica.

Izzy will stay in the United States for three to four weeks, depending on her recovery time. She will have a second surgery later this year. Once she recovers, she will have much more range of motion and will be able to start walking and keeping up with other kids her age, all due to the help of our local board member!

Izzy's parents with Board Member Joe Shivley

Pictured: (top right) Baby Izzy before brachial plexus palsy surgery, (bottom) Board of Governors member Joe Shivley with Izzy’s parents Geneva and Terrence