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"Amazing" Eastbourne baby seizure-free after brain surgery
A baby who suffered up to a hundred fits a day is now seizure-free thanks to an eight-hour brain operation.
Finlay Ritchie, just 13 months old, was diagnosed with severe and uncontrollable epilepsy at just four days old.
But following a rollercoaster ride of fearing the worst and a “terrifying” trip to theatre, the youngster has emerged “smiling, happy and healthy”.
Yesterday his delighted mother Kali Peacock (COR), of Eastbourne, said: “It is amazing.”
Mrs Peacock, who lives with her husband Martin Ritchie, described how she thought little Finlay was “perfect” when he was born at Eastbourne District General Hospital in December 2012.
She added: “But then I noticed he was shivering.
“I thought he was cold so added more blankets.
“But the nurses came along and took his temperature and said he was not cold.”
It turned out little Finlay was in fact suffering from seizures and was born with pachygyria, a thickening of the folds in the brain which had caused the left side of his brain to develop abnormally.
Doctors told Mrs Peacock said her boy developed the illness while in the womb at between six and ten weeks due to an “environmental factor such as breathing in a substance from a building site”.
This issue was identified by “outstanding” Eastbourne consultant paediatrician John Mitchell.
But it meant the newborn baby was whisked away from his mother just four days after she gave birth.
Mrs Peacock, who like her husband is an actor, said: “It was the worst half-an-hour of my life.
“My newborn baby had been whisked away.
“I thought we were going to get discharged and we actually had to undergo endless tests.”
Finlay was transferred to Evelina Children's Hospital, part of St Thomas' Hospital in London, and at seven weeks doctors said he was a suitable candidate for major brain surgery.
This would involve disconnecting one half of his brain from the other half so that the seizures could not spread.
Mrs Peacock said as she and her husband Martin sat on the train home from London they were silent and in shock.
But they realised Finlay needed the chance of a normal life.
At 19 weeks he had the operation at Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital in London and it was a total success.
She said: “It was a terrifying eight hours while he was in theatre.
“His development is about six months behind, his right side is weaker and he has a scar from his ear to crown but he has not had a seizure since.
“Considering he had up to 100 a day it is amazing.”
Mrs Peacock told how he originally took five tablets a day - he is currently being weaned off the one remaining dose of medication he is on.
She said: “Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve 2012 he was in hospital in an epileptic state. 2013 was completely different.
“It is amazing.”
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