Enrique Garcia from Johannesburg turned five years old in June 2011. In October 2010, he started developing intermittent facial paralysis after a routine immunisation. This quickly progressed to epileptic seizures. He was treated at Johannesburg General Hospital and subsequently diagnosed with Rasmussen’s Disorder, a rare inflammatory neurological disorder. Enrique’s mom, Avenida, was devastated when her son became so gravely ill. No longer able to walk or interact with his family, he was having up to 100 seizures a day and started losing consciousness. Enrique’s only hope was a hemispherectomy, in which surgeons disconnect the entire affected side of the brain.
In small children, this procedure is effective in halting the seizures and the other side of the brain is often able to take over the function of the disconnected half. Desperate, Enrique’s parents made contact with specialists in the United States who were able to perform this lifesaving neurosurgery on their son. They were amazed when they were told that the procedure can be done by specialist neurosurgeons at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Cape Town!
Within hours of arrival at the Hospital, Enrique was stabilised and the Rasmussen’s Disorder was confirmed. In March 2011, Enrique underwent the surgery where almost half of his brain was removed, and the other part affected half was disconnected. Enrique went home with his family a month later and has not had any seizures since.
His mother confirms that his intellect has remained fully intact and they are delighted to have their little boy back. Enrique’s parents are eternally grateful to the surgeons, doctors and staff who supported them every step of the way through this very stressful time.