Hannah Lawrence of Brandon, Miss., had her first seizure when she was 13 years old and was transported to Blair E. Baston Children’s Hospital in Jackson, Miss., where she was diagnosed with viral encephalitis. Inflammation on her brain left scar tissue and caused uncontrolled seizures.
She came to Le Bonheur in 2007 upon a referral from her pediatric neurologist. At Le Bonheur, Chief Neurologist James Wheless, MD, began exploring various treatment options for Hannah. Because medications did little to stop the seizures, doctors implanted a vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) device. In 2010, Hannah had another surgery, a right temporal lobectomy, to help control the seizures. She underwent another operation in 2013.
While each surgery slowed her seizures, Hannah still couldn’t live independently. When Wheless suggested the responsive neurostimulation (RNS) device, the Lawrence family jumped at the opportunity.
RNS is being used in a limited basis in children, primarily those older than 10 years old, with poorly controlled seizures. Le Bonheur is one of the few hospitals in the country to offer RNS therapy for children.
The RNS has dramatically reduced Hannah’s seizures, and the care and treatment she received at Le Bonheur has been life changing, her mom, Rhonda, said.
“Hannah can now do things without us like shopping by herself, and we don’t have to worry as much,” Rhonda said. “The RNS has changed our lives. Independence is important to her.”
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