Indian toddler with severe water on the brain survives surgery
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
7/25/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
With a freakish head 37 inches in circumference, a three-year-old Indian girl has underwent surgery to reduce her deformity. Arduous hours of surgery later, she's smiling for the first time with a more normal-sized head.
Surgeons carried out a series of operations to reduce the size of Roona's head. Sent home after surgery, her parents were warned she had little chance of survival.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Three-year-old Roona Begum was taken to a New Delhi hospital last year, suffering an extreme form of hydrocephalus, more commonly known as water on the brain.
Surgeons carried out a series of operations to reduce the size of Roona's head. Sent home after surgery, her parents were warned she had little chance of survival. Medics were shocked and amazed to find out that not only was Roona alive, she is starting to smile and laugh.
Three-year-old Roona Begum was rushed to hospital in New Delhi, India, last year, suffering an extreme form of hydrocephalus - water on the brain. The condition caused her head to swell to three times its normal size.
"The doctors said she would not live - but she has survived," Roona's 23-year-old mother Fatima Khatun says.
"She is much better now. She can hold her head straight and she can move her head from side to side on her own. She responds to other kids and she will smile if other kids call out her name.
But the toddler has amazed doctors, who warned her mother Fatima, pictured, and father Abdul she wouldn't survive. After a series of surgeries to reduce the circumference of her head from 37 to 23 inches, Roona is smiling and laughing for the first time.
"I would be very happy if she could stand and talk and be like a normal child. We hope she will one day go to school." Roona cannot yet walk because due to the weight of her head.
She is able to crawl, eat, sleep and interact with her parents with much more comfort at their home in Tripura, western India.
Touched by Roona's plight the Fortis Memorial Research Institute and Hospital in Gurgaon, on the outskirts of New Delhi performed a number of operations free of charge.
Admitted to the Fortis Memorial Research Institute and Hospital in Gurgaon, on the outskirts of New Delhi, in April of last year, her family faced a huge medical bill. The couple were overwhelmed when images showing Roona's plight attracted international sympathy and prompted the hospital to treat her rare condition for free.
Several rounds of surgery in May and June last year had doctors draining excess fluid from her head and dramatically reducing the size of her skull.
Spending 105 days at the hospital before being discharged in August, Roona returned in December for further reconstruction on her deformed skull.
Surgeons have been surprised at Roona's recovery, having warned her parents she was unlikely to survive despite the treatment.
Neurosurgeon Dr. Sandeep Vaishya who assessed Roona again this week has been surprised by the extent of her recovery. He says that there remains a long road ahead.
"I see a lot of improvement, which I didn't expect. She has started laughing, she makes a lot of sounds and she occasionally speaks a few words.
"She has gained a lot of weight and her activities have improved a lot. But whether she will be able to live a normal life, nobody can say.
"But most likely I don't think she will be absolutely normal because with such a severe case of hydrocephalus there has to be some damage to the brain.
"But with the improvement she has shown we are hopeful she will be able to do some things."
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