8-Month-Old Suffers Severe Head Injury
Infant Gali was only 8-months-old when a heavy plastic object fell on her head while her father was walking outside with her in her carriage in a residential neighborhood in Petach Tikvah. She was suffering from a brain hemorrhage and severe head trauma, as well as fascialis (paralysis of the facial nerve) and seizures when her parents brought her to Schneider Children's. A CT scan showed that Gali suffered a broad fracture in the right side of her skull with bleeding in the brain.
"We were shocked with the force of the injury on her head", said Mayin, Gali's mother. "Half her face was paralyzed, she barely moved her limbs on the left side of her body, her eyes rolled around and she screamed in pain as never before. We arrived at Schneider in shock and terrified." During the initial days of her hospitalization, the family investigated and discovered that the object that hit her head was part of a water pump from a private pool. "This was thrown from a porch from one of the building's in the neighborhood", said Mayin.
Gali was hospitalized for several days in the Intensive Care Unit at Schneider headed by Prof. Elhanan Nahum, and underwent surgery by Dr. Ivan Novitzky, senior neurosurgeon. "In cases of traumatic skull injury, the brain swells frequently requiring surgery to allow more space for the swollen brain and to obviate increased pressure within the skull," said Dr. Amir Kershenovich, Head of Neurosurgery at Schneider Children's. "In Gali's case, the fracture was created in such a way that it severed from the skull itself and in fact allowed space for the swollen brain, thus preventing additional damage because of internal pressure. During the operation, the hemorrhage was drained, injured tissues removed, torn meninges repaired, and the skull bones were reconnected."
"It is very exciting and encouraging to see Gali today after her amazing recovery from the terrible injury. It is important to remember that head injuries in infants and small children can undergo a process called neuroplasticity, since the brain has still not fully developed. This means that entire areas with unique functions in the central nervous system can alter their function and activity pattern as a response to brain injury. In other words, the brain "compensates" injured areas and is assisted by other areas in the brain to implement other functions." Dr. Kershenovich added that "we cannot know the precise scope of Gali's brain injury and whether there will be long-term side-effects. We can only hope that the injury was minimal."
After Gali recovered from the operation, she was transferred for continued care in the Neurosurgery Department. Two-and-a-half weeks after arriving at Schneider Children's, she was discharged and began the long process of rehabilitation at the Levenstein Rehabilitation Center in Raanana. "Gali underwent a successful rehabilitation in a shorter time than anticipated, and achieved significant progress in many areas," said Dr. Sharon Shaklai, Director of the Children's and Youth Rehabilitation Department at Levenstein. "She was treated at Levenstein by a multidisciplinary team who provided physical and occupational therapy, and communication and emotional accompaniment alongside medical and nursing care. Gali will need prolonged care in the community, and we will continue to follow-up, support and accompany the family."