Hydrocephalus, known as ‘water on the brain’

But, she added, if the condition develops more slowly, as in Roona’s case, the child adapts by growing their skulls to contain the excess fluid. However, the adaptation can only go so far.


The main treatment for hydrocephalus is to implant a thin tube, called a shunt, in the brain to drain excess cerebrospinal fluid to another part of the body where it can be more easily reabsorbed.

The shunt has a valve inside it to control the flow of fluid and to ensure it does not drain too quickly, which those treated can feel as a lump under the skin of their scalps.

Ms Yaz told MailOnline: ‘It’s done by paediatric neurosurgeons, but its not a very demanding procedure. The operation usually lasts about 30 minutes.’

The shunts themselves usually cost a few hundred pounds, she said, going up to around £800 for the state-of-the-art models.

A spokesman for Headway, the brain injury association, told MailOnline that shunting is very effective, but there can be complications of infections, obstructed shunts and haemotomas.

‘These are avoided by another operation called a third ventriculostomy. This involves creating a hole in the floor of the third ventricle for the fluid to drain through,’ he said, adding that this is only suitable for some types of hydrocephalus.

Experts estimate that the congenital form of the condition affects around one in every 500 children.

It can be caused by birth defects like spina bifida, or as the result of an infection that the mother develops during pregnancy, such as mumps or rubella.

The condition can also be acquired after birth by both adults and children, often as the result of a serious head injury or medical condition such as a brain tumour.


Without an expert medical opinion, it is impossible to know how Roona came to be affected by hydrocephalus and impossible to know what related conditions she might be suffering from.

In the West, children diagnosed with the disorder and promptly treated can go on to lead normal lives. In India, things are different.

In a blunt assessment of his government’s failure to extend a social safety net for the poor, India’s rural development minister said last year that the country’s public health system had ‘collapsed’.

But experts say it is too late for Roona, as any surgery could be fatal. Mr Sanj Bassi, Consultant Adult and Paediatric Neurosurgeon at Kings College Hospital, said: ‘It is too late to do anything now. The brain will be damaged, and  draining the fluid can cause problems by causing the brain to collaspe and bleed.

‘Roona should really be left untreated. She will not make any recovery and will not ever live a life of any independence

‘Hydrocephalus is very common, and we see it to this extent very commonly in developing nations.’

For more information and to donate money to other children in need of surgery, visit: facingtheworld.net

By Damien Gayle | DailyMail

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors/source and do not necessarily reflect the position of CSGLOBE or its staff.

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