Singaporeans show love to orphaned Vietnamese baby with brain condition

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"I wish baby Loc never learns about how he was abandoned by his parents, how he was almost left to die."

He was only seven months old, when he was found abandoned at Van Buc Temple in Vietnam, last July.

Kind monks took baby Loc Pham Duc Loc under their wings, and housed him with more than 90 orphans living at the temple. 2 months later, however, a doctor conducting routine medical checks detected a problem with baby Loc's head.

Hydrocephalus or "water on the brain"

It was discovered that baby Loc had hydrocephalus, a brain condition that happens when cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) can't drain from the brain. It then pools, causing a buildup of fluid in the skull.

Hydrocephalus (also called "water on the brain") can make babies' and young children's heads swell to make room for the excess fluid. If left untreated, it can lead to brain damage, a loss in mental and physical abilities, and even death. With early diagnosis and timely treatment, though, most children recover successfully.

Some signs of congenital hydrocephalus are:

  • an unusually large head
  • a thin and shiny scalp with easily visible veins
  • bulging at the soft spot on top of a baby's head
  • downward looking eyes

PHOTO: GIVE ASIA

Baby Loc's plight

Baby Loc was treated at two hospitals in Vietnam, but to no success. His plight came to the notice of the Vietnamese community in Singapore, who suggested that his caregivers bring him to Singapore for treatment.

So far, 2 surgeries have been performed on this little one, and yet another one was scheduled for yesterday. It is heartening to know that his condition has been slowly improving.

However, the fluid in baby Loc's brain that was confined to one part of the brain, has now flowed to various parts, complicating his situation. Yesterday's surgery would have involved the insertion of a camera in his brain, to enable doctors to observe the fluid and find a way to move it to one area, for easier drainage.

If that didn't work out, they would have to remove a part of baby Loc's skull to drain the fluid.

Sadly, the hydrocephalus has also caused baby Loc to develop problems with his eyes and lungs, and affected much of his brain function. Doctors remain optimistic though, that it can be recovered partially upon drainage of the fluid.

Give Asia page set up

To raise more money for his operations, a crowdfunding campaign on Give Asia has been set up by Ms.Nguyen Hong Thao, who runs Thien Long Vietnamese Restaurant in Singapore.

Singaporeans have rushed to help this little baby, and to spread awareness of his plight. As of Sunday, the online campaign has raised about $74,000, with kind donors chipping in with at least $30,000 more.

Nee Soon GRC MP Louis Ng, visited baby Loc last Friday, and was saddened by what he saw. He later put up a post on Facebook praising the caregivers, "I also met the Singaporean, her friends and the temple monk who have been helping him. These are selfless individuals with very big hearts and I don't think we can ever thank them enough for the help they have given to baby Loc."

PHOTO: FACEBOOK/LOUIS NG

"I wish baby Loc never learns about how he was abandoned by his parents, how he was almost left to die. I'm grateful that chapter of his life has passed and the new chapter is about hope, about being surrounded by people, doctors and nurses who care and love him, about having a chance to live."

"I don't think there's a worse situation for a baby to be in, if there's anything I can do to help I should," he writes.

We hope and pray that baby Loc recovers soon.

Also READ: 18-month-old baby with hydrocephalus

(Source: The Straits Times, The New Paper, KidsHealth, NHS)

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