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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 22 July 2018

Baby can smile again after being saved from brain damage by RAK surgeons

Four-month-old with fluid on the brain flown to the UAE for treatment

Dr Tinku Jose Kurisinkal, consultant neurosurgeon at RAK Hospital, with Abdullahi David and the boy's parents. Courtesy RAK Hospital
Dr Tinku Jose Kurisinkal, consultant neurosurgeon at RAK Hospital, with Abdullahi David and the boy's parents. Courtesy RAK Hospital

Doctors at RAK Hospital brought a smile back to a four-month-old baby who was suffering from a life-threatening condition.

Abdullahi David had congenital hydrocephalus – too much cerebrospinal fluid which carries nutrients to the brain and removes waste from the tissues.

This condition caused swelling in the boy's brain and he also lost the ability to smile.

It can lead to brain damage and even death in some cases.

Surgery lasted about 90 minutes and, within days, his parents were able to take him home.

Dr Tinku Jose Kurisinkal, consultant neurosurgeon at RAK Hospital, led the team that conducted the operation.

“The surgery itself was not complicated but the fact that the patient was just a few months old presented a number of challenges," he said.

To divert excess fluid, a plastic tube called a shunt was inserted, relieving pressure on the baby's brain.

"Given the very young age of the baby, the procedure was quite a difficult task, and credit goes to the entire surgical team for their clinical acumen that made the surgery successful," said Dr Kurisinkal.

"The procedure was further complicated since giving and maintaining anesthesia in a new-born posed another challenge but our team of anaesthetists managed it smoothly. We also had to take extra precautions to prevent infection to avoid post-operation complications,” he said.

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Symptoms of the condition in an infant include rapid increase in the size of the head, a bulging or tense soft spot on the top of the head, vomiting, sleepiness, irritability, poor feeding, seizures, a lack of muscle tone and strength, poor responsiveness to touch and poor growth.

Studies have also shown that early diagnosis and treatment of hydrocephalus can prevent permanent damage to the brain, and with timely intervention the infant or toddler can go on to lead a normal life.

The infant's parents sought out RAK Hospital after consulting several hospitals in Nigeria, where no one was willing to perform surgery because they believed there was a limited chance of success.

Dr Raza Siddiqui, executive director at RAK Hospital, paid tribute to the team.

"Our department of neurosurgery is quite adept at handling extremely complicated and critical cases. This case is yet another fine example of how RAK Hospital is emerging as a preferred destination of medical tourism,” he said.

The baby's father, Mohamed Yaro, and mother thanked RAK Hospital staff for the care their child received.