Radical operation for girl's rare illness

SEAMUS BOYER WAIRARAPA
Last updated 05:00 17/11/2012
Grace Yeats on Red Nose Day.
MYSTERY ILLNESS: Grace Yeats on Red Nose Day.

Relevant offers

National News

Huge retirement complex like 'British housing estate' gets go-ahead in Auckland Sharp fall in Wellington building consents in November, due to quake 60-minute challenge: Move over Gepetto, Joanna Griffiths has a chisel What is it that makes Wellington so windy? Police investigating aggravated robbery in Huntly Collecting everything from Matchbox cars to mini alcohol bottles a part of life for Michael Arthur's Pass closed due to flooding, slips Bit of Aaron Cruden observed in Montpellier billionaire owner Mohed Altrad Forget Marie Kondo – the best way to declutter is going through a breakup Weather bomb: Trampoline hits house

Carterton girl Grace Yeats will undergo brain surgery in a radical attempt to bring her home.

The 10-year-old will have an operation known as "deep brain stimulation" at Auckland's Starship Hospital on Wednesday.

It is her first major surgery since catching a mystery illness exactly six months ago.

Doctors will drill into Grace's skull and insert electrodes in her brain, in what is believed to be a medical first in New Zealand for a child.

The electrodes will then be wired to a pacemaker, which will be implanted in her chest.

The device will be calibrated to stimulate and counter the section of her brain that causes the intense and painful spasms that affect Grace's body.

Jonathan Tanner, spokesman for the Grace Yeats Trust, said the operation carried obvious risks, which were higher for Grace due to her age.

"It's exciting but scary.

"It is a positive that they are willing to do this . . . because we're running out of options."

While the operation was not a cure, it was hoped it would reduce the powerful spasms - or dystonia - which are seen as the biggest obstacle to bringing Grace home.

"The spasms are the thing that cause the most damage and distress, for everyone really."

The operation is also used to treat Parkinson's disease.

Grace, a St Mary's School pupil, has been unable to move since May when she was struck down with a mystery illness just hours after complaining of a sore throat.

Ad Feedback

- The Dominion Post

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content