Toddler miraculously survives after being born with brain outside skull

2018-05-25 16:30
Gemma Mccusker, Karlie Toland and Kyle Toland. ( Photo: CATERS/WWW.MAGAZINEFEATURES.CO.ZA)

Gemma Mccusker, Karlie Toland and Kyle Toland. ( Photo: CATERS/WWW.MAGAZINEFEATURES.CO.ZA)

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A tot who was given just minutes to live after being born with her brain outside her skull has made an astounding recovery.

Karlie Toland, now 17 months old, is thought to be the only person in the world to be alive with her rare medical condition.

After being born with part of her brain outside of her skull – also known as an encephalocele – doctors predicted Karlie would die within minutes of being born.

But her parents, Gemma Mccusker (24) and Kyle Toland (20), from Belfast, UK, refused to give up on their daughter.

"After giving birth I was told my daughter would die within 20 minutes,” Gemma says.

"I was heartbroken and although she had part of her brain outside of her skull, she looked perfect.”

Doctors sent the tot home to die, but four weeks later Karlie was still clinging to life.

The little girl’s parents claim they were offered no medical help until they visited Belfast’s Royal Hospital for Sick Children.

It was only then that they were reportedly offered a life-changing operation for their daughter to repair the brain tissue poking through her forehead.

"After being discharged from hospital we went home with Karlie and used bottles of sterile water at room temperature and cotton swabs to wipe away the brain fluid leaking from her skull,” Gemma says.

"We had been told Karlie would die in the next few days but she defied everyone and once we got a second opinion four weeks later, she had the operation she desperately needed.”

The surgery took just under five hours and Karlie has come on in leaps and bounds since.

The tot now constantly laughs, smiles, talks and even eats on her own.

Karlie Toland

The overjoyed parents are confident she’ll go on to take her first steps in the next few months.

"Looking at her now makes me so proud, she's always smiling, laughing and happy, and she’s such a little miracle."

"We've been told by doctors that Karlie is a miracle to be alive and she really is.

"We couldn't believe it and although no one expected her to progress as her brain doesn't have the normal three structures, so far she’s on par with other children her age.”

Gemma and Kyle believe the only reason their daughter is alive today is thanks to the work of Dr Mano Shanmuganathan, a neurosurgeon at Belfast's Royal Hospital for Sick Children.

"We’re so thankful to Dr Mano and that he never gave up on our daughter,” Gemma says.

"His surgery saved her life and has given us a future with Karlie.

"We don't know what the future holds for Karlie but we’re sure she will continue to defy the odds."

Source: Magazine Features

Read more on:    surgery  |  toddler  |  brain and nervous system  |  brain

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