A toddler with a head almost the size of a football is desperately waiting for life-saving surgery.
Fifteen-month-old Muhammad Sanaullah,from Badin in the Sindh province of Pakistan, suffers from a rare condition, known as hydrocephalus, which causes a build-up of fluid inside his skull.
This has caused his head to grow to an abnormal size leaving him immobile and unable to eat or sleep.
Muhammad’s parents say he is treated badly by other people in his village, making them worry about his future.
Although Muhammad had surgery shortly after he was born, his condition has recently deteriorated, forcing his parents to make the near 120-mile journey back to the hospital, only to be told he is not healthy enough to be operated on.
Yet, despite Muhammad’s poor health, his parents are still optimistic the youngster, who is also battling a chest infection, will one day be cured.
They said: ‘We are hopeful that God will listen to our prayers and his condition will be treated.’
Muhammad Sanaullah, who has a head almost the size of a football, is desperately waiting for life-saving surgery as he suffers from a rare condition, known as hydrocephalus
This has caused his head to grow to an abnormal size leaving him immobile and unable to eat
Muhammad’s parents say he is treated badly by others, making them worry about his future
WHAT IS HYDROCEPHALUS?
Hydrocephalus is a build-up of fluid in the brain, which can damage tissue.
Aside from an abnormally-sized head, other symptoms can include headache, nausea, vomiting, confusion and vision problems.
Hydrocephalus’ cause is usually unknown but may be due to issues with cavities in the brain or an underlying health problem that affects blood flow, such as heart disease.
It can also be acquired by damage to the brain due to a head injury, stroke or tumour.
Treatment is shunt surgery, which involves implanting a thin tube into the brain to drain away excess fluid to another part of the body where it can be absorbed into the bloodstream.
If untreated, hydrocephalus can be fatal as increased pressure can compress the brainstem, which is responsible for regulating a person’s heart rate and breathing.
A patient’s prognosis after surgery depends on their age and general health.
Source: Brain and Spine Foundation
‘Any delay could be fatal for him’
Muhammad’s mother Kiran Shedi, 39, who also has four daughters, said: ‘Sanaullah was born as a normal child.
‘We were very happy that after 18 years of our marriage finally God has blessed us with a son.’
Yet, the couple’s happiness only lasted a few weeks.
Ms Shedi said: ‘After three or four weeks of his birth, Sanaullah’s head started growing at an abnormal rate.
‘He would incessantly cry and was not able to sleep properly.
‘We brought him to Civil Hospital in Badin but doctors advised us to take him to a bigger hospital in Karachi.
‘They even warned us that any delay could be fatal for him.’
The desperate parents took him to Karachi where Sanaullah was treated with shunt surgery to move fluid to a different part of his body.
‘We are hopeful that God will listen to our prayers’
Despite Muhammad having surgery as a newborn, his parents were forced to travel back to Karachi again last December after he took a turn for the worst.
His father Muhammad Mumtaz Shedi, 44, who runs a small grocery shop and earns less than £5 a day, said: ‘His health remained stable until last month when his head started swelling up again.’
The couple hoped the youngster could have surgery, however, after conducting several tests, doctors found the toddler is also suffering from a chest infection, which needs to be treated before he can be operated on.
Dr Muhammad Imran, Neurosergeon at Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Trauma Centre, said: ‘The swelling in his head is due to shunt malfunction and that will be treated through a surgery only.
‘But we had to delay the surgery because the patient was also suffering from chest infection.
‘We have told the parents to bring him back to hospital for regular checkups.’
Despite Muhammad’s parents’ concerns, they added: ‘We are worried about our son but at the same time we are hopeful that God will listen to our prayers and his condition will be treated.’
Muhammad had surgery shortly after he was born, but his condition has recently deteriorated
He is suffering from a chest infection and cannot be operated on until he has recovered