Indian doctors discharge baby with swollen head

Doctors on 2nd August discharged a one-year-old Indian baby named Roona Begum who underwent several surgeries to correct a rare disorder that caused baby’s head to nearly double in size, a neurosurgeon told AFP.

Roona Begum endured several surgical procedures at a hospital near New Delhi in which doctors notify drain fluid from the baby’s head and conducts a life-saving operation and dramatically reduce the size of the skull.

“Roona’s health has improved significantly and she is fit to travel,” neurosurgeon Sandeep Vaishya said.

Roona was born with hydrocephalus, a potentially fatal condition that causes cerebrospinal fluid to build up on the brain.

Before Surgery

This condition makes the baby’s head to swell to a circumference of 94 centimeters (37 inches), putting pressure on the brain and which is impossible for the baby to sit upright or crawl.

After many surgeries and procedures the baby’s skull shrank to 58 centimeters conducted between April and July at the hospital run by the private Fortis Healthcare group.

Vaishya, who heads the hospital’s neurosurgery unit, said he expected the baby’s head to shrink further after conducting a final surgery in about six months’ time.

After Surgery

“When she came here, she was almost immobile. Now, she is moving her head from side to side easily, it shows that her neck muscles are already getting stronger,” he said.

“The next big step will be for her to sit up.”Neurologically as well the baby shows several signs of improvement. She can see better, her limb movements are much better,” he added.

Roona’s parents were too poor to pay for treatment, but publication of pictures taken by an AFP photographer at their home in the remote northeastern state of Tripura prompted the hospital to offer to treat the baby for free.

The photographs also triggered an outpouring of support worldwide with prospective donors contacting AFP and other news organizations, enquiring how they could contribute to a fund for her treatment.