Alexander Morales was born a full term baby at Valley Presbyterian Hospital, where he passed his newborn hearing screening test in both ears.
While visiting family in Nicaragua at 5 months of age, an undiagnosed middle ear infection developed to mastoiditis in his left ear. Alexander Javier was hospitalized in Managua, Nicaragua at Hospital Metropolitano Vivian Pellas with a high fever, intense pain, and symptoms of dehydration, neck stiffness and swelling in the Mastoid. Doctors quickly began giving him antibiotics but the mastoiditis quickly developed to meningitis. Alexander's condition became even more complicated as Meningitis created resistance to the antibiotics; as a result doctors increased the antibiotics dosage. The MRI and CT scan showed that Alexander had developed brain abscesses and needed intervention as soon as possible to drain the abscesses (a collection of pus surrounded by inflamed tissue). Alexander had to have a surgical procedure to have the brain abscess drained, during the surgery Alexander lost significant amount of blood and received a blood transfusion to stay alive. The Nicaraguan neurologist did not have promising news as the MRI and CT scan showed brain abscesses rebuilding, and they kept Alexander under observation for one day and hoped antibiotics could finish eradicating the remaining abscesses.
After almost two months of hospitalization, agony, suffering and many sleepless nights, Alexander was finally released from the hospital and was able to travel back to the United States. Nicaraguan doctor’s discussed the serious consequences Alexander may face even after meningitis had been successfully eradicated. Nicaraguan Doctor's warned that Alexander may have other side effects; hydrocephalus, loss of vision, metal retardation, speech problems, hearing loss, etc.
When Alexander got back to Los Angeles, his pediatrician evaluated him, he found him to be healthy, with no visible indications of ever having meningitis. Dr. Salimpour even calls him a "Miracle Baby" because Alexander is very fortunate to be alive since 75% of babies under the 1 year of age do not survive bacterial meningitis. He had no indications of having Meningitis; his motor skills, learning ability, focus, and responses to his surroundings were the same as kids his age. Alexander's neurologist was amazed when he discovered that there were no signs in Alexander's brain that he ever had Meningitis or brain abscesses.
In July 2010, Alexander was seen at Hearing Solutions in Tarzana, California. Alexander was diagnosed with profound hearing loss in both ears. Alexander's parents, Victor and Damaris Morales, looked for a second opinion. They were referred, by a friend, to the John Tracy Clinic. Additional testing confirmed that Alexander in fact had profound hearing loss in both ears. John Tracy Clinic staff educated, informed, and comforted Alexander's parents on what measures and steps needed to be taken for Alexander’s well being. They referred Alexander to House Research Institute. Under the guidance of Dr. Eric Wilkinson and Kristina Celani, Alexander was able to receive the best care and treatment available; treatment he would have never received anywhere else. House Research Institute provided a light at the end of the tunnel and they gave his parents the tools and knowledge to make an educated decision on to what path to guide Alexander to prepare him for his life journey.
On December 2, 2010, Alexander received a Cochlear Implant in his right ear. Due to meningitis Alexander's left ear calcified (bone growth in cochlear) which meant he was not a candidate for a cochlear implant in his left ear. Alexander’s right ear presented signs of slight calcification. The doctors had to intervene as soon as possible to save his right ear and be able to perform the cochlear implant surgery.
It was a race against the clock, but with faith, prayer and at the great hands of Dr. Eric Wilkinson and House Research Staff, the surgery was a complete success, bringing a new life to Alexander.
There are no words in this universe that can express the gratitude, joy and satisfaction a parent feels to see their son will have the opportunity to enjoy all the wonderful sounds we all take for granted in our everyday lives. Services and aid from places like the John Tracy Clinic, House Clinic and House Research Institute make such a difference and impact peoples lives in an un-measurable way, giving life a meaning and bringing hope to everyone in need.Thank goodness for the House Research Institute and all of its members for their continuing research, dedication and commitment to helping people with hearing loss. Alexander’s hearing loss has brought our family closer together; everyone has shown their unconditional love and support. Alexander's journey continues, at 16 months old, he is beginning develop his auditory and verbal skills all thanks to House Research Institute.