Miracle Babies in Mexico
A San Diego nonprofit gives new hope to preterm babies in Baja
The success of Miracle Babies, a local nonprofit that supports gravely ill newborns and their families, has inspired an offshoot south of the border. Miracle Babies Mexico was founded by Rady Children’s Hospital perinatalogist Dr. Sean Daneshmand and a group of his former patients.
While the Mexican organization is a separate entity from its American counterpart—Daneshmand co-founded Miracle Babies San Diego with his wife, Marjan—the vision remains the same. “If we can provide aid where it’s needed,” Daneshmand says, “hopefully we can save those high-risk pregnancies.”
According to Daneshmand, preterm birth is at an all-time high at Hospital General de Tijuana in Zona Río, which caters to more than half of Tijuana’s population with an estimated 10,000 deliveries per year. “About 24 percent of women who deliver there are younger than the age of 18, and about 18 percent of these women deliver premature,” he explains.
Miracle Babies Mexico partnered with the hospital’s auxiliary, and the first phase of help is already underway. Thanks to $300,000 in funding from Frank Carrillo, CEO of Baja health insurance company SIMNSA, the tiny, eight-bed neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Tijuana General will be getting its own operating room. Currently, when babies require surgery, they have to go to the hospital’s main operating room. Daneshmand says, “Whenever these babies have to be transferred, the care is compromised.”
About 24 percent of women who deliver there are younger than the age of 18, and about 18 percent of these women deliver premature.
The next phase will focus on improving the labor and delivery department. Currently, women who deliver via C-section are also transferred to the main operating room. According to Daneshmand, those who deliver vaginally are offered no anesthesia and discharged six hours later.
“This is supposed to be the most important moment in your life, when you understand the meaning of unconditional love,” he explains. “Once you go there [to Mexico] and you see the conditions that these women have to go through, you get scarred mentally.”
Ultimately, Miracle Babies Mexico will expand to the prevention clinics outside the hospital to help women get the prenatal care they need, which will eventually decrease preterm births.
For now, the hospital’s NICU operating room is set to open in 2017. “If we can give them the resources they need,” Daneshmand says, “that’s going to save a lot of lives.”