Boy Born With Half His Skull Missing Has Just Skin Protecting His Brain
A little boy who was only given hours to live after being born with a rare skull condition is said to be the first child to survive - and thrive.
Lucas Santa Maria was born with a part of his skull missing, meaning his brain was only covered by skin, as the result of a condition called exencephaly.
Seven-month-old Lucas' mother Maria was advised to abort her child when she was ten weeks pregnant but decided to go against recommendations from doctors.
When Lucas was born prematurely at 35 weeks, weighing 6lbs 5oz, 30-year-old Maria was given a list of funeral homes and told she should make arrangements.
However, Maria and her husband, Augusto, 30, were shocked and delighted to see their son's condition stabilise, and he was soon able to breath and eat unaided.
At four days old he had surgery to remove fluid and damaged parts of his brain, before being allowed home.
He's still waiting for more surgery, which will involve moulding a skull over his brain, and although his condition is stable he is very delicate.
He is awaiting surgery to mould a skull over his brain, which is currently only protected by his skin and is extremely fragile.
Maria, a stay-at-home mother-of-four, said: "I found out about his condition on my first ultrasound when I was just ten weeks pregnant and was told that he would most likely die in my uterus or at birth.
"They recommended that we had an abortion, which was devastating since they didn't give us any hope at all and said that he was incompatible with life.
"I had never thought about having an abortion before but we were forced to consider due to the circumstances - but it was something that I couldn't bring myself to do.
"I thought if Lucas wasn't going to live, he can pass in my uterus without me having the regret that I may have stopped my son from having a life.
"The doctor's told us this made him the first in the world to survive and thrive with this rare condition."
Lucas is now home with his three sisters and parents, and although he needs extra care, he's making progress. He's now able to eat baby food and is even making attempts to crawl. He sleeps more than other babies his age but the family and his doctors are working on this with physical therapy.
The next step for Lucas will be when he is around 18 months old, when he will undergo the life changing surgery to give him a full skull.
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