RACINE, Wis. — Following a family's plea for help, a 9-year-old Racine boy is back in Wisconsin after suffering a brain bleed during an accident in Mexico.
Fernando Duran, also known as Nando, was vacationing in Mexico when he was severely injured in a four-wheeler accident. He spent more than a week fighting for his life 2,000 miles away from his family, but now, he is finally home.
"He was on a four-wheeler with a cousin of his, I believe, and he fell off. He was on the back and he fell off, almost hit his head, and just had a really bad headache from it," said Katie Castaneda, Nando's aunt.
"We didn't see the accident, but he must have turned too fast and Nando fell and hit his head and his shoulder. We didn't think it was gonna be a big deal like that until he started vomiting and having seizures. He ended up fracturing his clavicle and having a brain bleed," said Vanessa Duran, Nando's mother.
Hours later, Nando's symptoms worsened. His family rushed him to a nearby hospital in Teocaltiche, Mexico where they learned he had a brain bleed that would require surgery followed by a medically induced coma.
"Seeing him there in the bed, because he was always happy, it's just hard," said Vanessa.
Nando had brain surgery and was put in a medically-induced coma in Mexico, but it all came at a hefty cost when the hospital declined his parent's health insurance.
"On top of my son being in critical condition, we had to find a way to pay $5,000 every day in order for him to get the care he needed. He was there for nine days, so it ended up being $47,000," said Vanessa.
"Their insurance here said if there is an emergency that happens in a different country, they would cover it, but the hospital is saying that they won't take that insurance anymore, that they're not accepting that insurance. Every day they're paying about $5,000 a day to the hospital," said Castaneda.
The family created a Go Fund Me page to help cover the costs of flying Nando back to the U.S. in a medical helicopter.
On March 10, the family met their GoFundMe goal and were able to fly Nando to Houston. And as of Friday? He's in Milwaukee at Children's Wisconsin.
The latest update from Nando's mom said he is somewhat conscious, he can laugh, and he can cry. However, he is still having trouble speaking and walking.
She says the road to recovery could take about a year but for now, she is grateful to simply see her child smile again.
"It was really good to see him smile, it just happened yesterday like to see his smile like it brought hope to my heart," said Vanessa holding back tears.
Doctors tell Vanessa that he is improving each day but there is still no date as to when he will be released from the hospital. The family is still collecting donations through the Go Fund Me to help cover ongoing medical costs.