Before she was even a week old, Ali was being cared for by the Neurology team at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick.
Scans confirmed she was born with severe epilepsy, which was triggering so many violent seizures. As she got older, the seizures gradually worsened and became more frequent. Soon she was having up to 50 seizures a day and couldn’t be left on her own, even when she was asleep.
Radical surgery gave Ali and her parents new hope.
Life saving radical surgery
This complex and radical surgery, which involved removing one third of Ali’s brain, is carried out in only the most extreme cases but the skill of Ali’s medical team combined with her young age has led to a remarkable recovery.
Dr John Lawson, Ali’s doctor, decided Ali needed a rare operation known as a functional hemispherectomy. A former Allens Neurology Fellow and an expert in child neurology and epilepsy, he knew it was her only hope.
Not a single seizure ever again!
After the operation, Ali’s brain was able to rebuild itself, finding new neural pathways to control her speech and movement. The remaining side of her brain learned to look after the tasks previously controlled by the section removed.
Ali is now seven years old, and doing incredibly well. She attends school, plays soccer and swims competitively. In the years since her operation Ali has not had a single seizure, and although her coordination and the vision on her right side will always be affected, her parents believe that is a small price to pay in exchange for Ali’s life.