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By Latrishka Thomas

After a difficult delivery four months ago, a 25-year-old mother-of-three discovered that her baby was afflicted with a serious condition requiring surgery.

Melissa Warrington told Observer that her son Marley Pryce, who was born on May 8, was born with spina bifida which led to the development of hydrocephalus.

“After I had him, they showed me a section on his lower back that was damaged. A hole and some exposed tissue were there. He was born with spina bifida; the section for the spine, the lower back, wasn’t closed before birth, but he was full term.

“And because of that issue with the spine he ended up having hydrocephalus — water retaining in the head because most of it is not flowing through the spine,” she explained.

The young mother said she was filled with tremendous worry.

“At first, it gave me a very hard blow,” she said. “When I get up there to see him with tubes and drips, it rocks my nerves,” she continued.

Two days after his birth, Baby Marley was able to have surgery on his spine, but he now needs to undergo an operation on his brain to remove the excess fluid.

According to Warrington, doctors are leaning towards the surgery being performed at a hospital in Trinidad, which is expected to cost a little over US$17,000.

She is appealing to residents for financial assistance saying, “because of Covid, I know a lot of business places don’t have it like that but … I really need the help”.

The mother said she would also welcome emotional support from the public.

Spina bifida is a rare condition with affects less than 20,000 persons per year in the United States.

According to the Mayo Clinic, it is characterised by excess build-up in fluid-containing cavities of the brain.

It occurs when the spine and spinal cord don’t form properly, since normally the neural tube forms early in pregnancy and closes by the 28th day after conception.

Hydrocephalus is a more common condition that occurs in more than 200,000 persons a year in the US.

It is the build-up of cerebrospinal fluid which normally flows through the ventricles and bathes the brain and spinal column in the cavities (ventricles) deep within the brain, the Mayo Clinic also explained.

It the case of baby Marley, treatment requires the placement of a small device, known as a shunt, into the brain to divert the excess fluid to another location in the body.

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