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Media Advisory: Guatemalan toddler with large neck tumor prepares for life-changing surgery

Jul. 2, 2008, 10:47 AM

What: Joseline Elizabeth Vasquez Santay will undergo preliminary procedures to help doctors at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt determine how to safely remove a neck tumor which is as large as the toddler’s head. The 2-year-old and her mother, Veronica Santay, arrived from their home in Villa Nueva, Guatemala, on Friday for what doctors hope will be a life-changing surgery. Josie has a large lymphatic malformation on the side of her neck that began growing before birth. It is not cancer, but the mass is hindering her ability to eat, breathe and move her neck. The family was brought to the U.S. by the non-profit Shalom Foundation and the Children’s Hospital and her doctors are donating surgery and treatments for Joseline.

The exploratory procedures began early today. At 1 p.m., media will be able to meet Joseline, her mother, doctors involved in her care, and hosts from The Shalom Foundation. If Joseline needs an artificial airway, called a tracheostomy, photographs will be delayed until she has recovered.

Where: The Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. Go to the second floor information desk to be escorted to Joseline’s room.

Details: Children’s Hospital doctors, working in partnership with The Shalom Foundation, first met Joseline in November 2006 when they traveled to Guatemala to provide surgery for children in need. Joseline’s mother wanted to try more conservative treatments first, but when doctors returned in December 2007, the mass was still growing.

Without the proper equipment to do such a delicate surgery in Guatemala, The Shalom Foundation arranged for Joseline and her mother to travel to the United States for treatment.

Media Contacts: Carole Bartoo or Laurie Holloway, (615) 322-4747

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