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Baby with rare brain condition smiles much more thanks to Driscoll Children's Hospital

Mason Garza.png
Posted at 3:44 PM, Jul 21, 2021

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Mason Garza was born on Oct. 13, 2019. He was born with a rare gene mutation called SCN3A.

After Plastic Surgeon Kevin Hopkins, MD. performed mandibular distractor surgery to remove metal hardware from Mason's jaw, Driscoll Children's Hospital conducted an MRI for Mason in December of 2019. The MRI helped hospital staff discover brain malformations. These issues have caused health problems for Mason

"Among the conditions caused by the gene are lissencephaly (a smooth brain surface lacking normal folds) and microcephaly (an abnormally small head)," says a release from the hospital. "He also has respiratory problems and is now on continuous oxygen."

Mason’s mother, Michelle Garza, felt helpless at first but she put her trust in the hospital staff.

“I remember meeting with Neurologist Robin Whitehall, MD, in the NICU and her telling us the findings and the first question I asked was ‘how long will he live?’ I knew that anything with the brain would cause significant delays, issues, seizures. I then just fell into my husband’s arms and cried and cried. It was completely devastating news but now we had answers for all of his issues that were going on,” said Garza.

Mason's parents and NICU nurse Bree Rivera are currently working to get Mason a special wheelchair to make him more mobile.

“Michelle & Mike Garza will always hold a special place in my heart," said Rivera. “I recently spoke with her (Mason's Mother) about how she has been waiting on a wheelchair for Mason for almost a year. She was tearful and exhausted. Having just had a baby myself and knowing the struggles of being a mother, I couldn't imagine the struggles as a special needs mother she must be going through."

From starting at Driscoll’s Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) to now, Mason has met countless nurses and doctors who have given Mason and his family hope throughout a difficult process.

“Mason smiles so much more now than he did before. There was a time where Mason never smiled. He still doesn’t really move his arms or legs but with therapy in the home we are working hard at that and his head control. We are also very thankful he is growing – sometimes with these conditions failure to thrive is a big concern but he is coasting along and growing,” said Garza.