Parents glad they didn’t abort girl with rare brain condition

A baby girl called Faith who was born with part of her brain outside her head is now home and well after her parents refused an abortion.

Faith was born with encephalocele, a rare condition that leads to a protrusion of the brain through an opening in the skull.

A hospital in Middlesbrough told Faith’s parents about the hole in her head at a 17-week scan.


Her mother, Jessica Williams, said when they were told about the possibility of an abortion, they refused.

She commented, “if there was any chance at all then we wanted to give it to her”, adding: “We never gave termination a thought.”

The hospital said most babies they knew of with the condition had died from it.


But the couple met with a consultant at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle who said he had seen babies with much bigger gaps in their skulls who had survived.

Encephalocele is caused by the neural tube – a narrow channel that folds and closes early in the pregnancy to form the brain and spinal cord – not closing completely.

The couple had been told the problem was with the part of the brain that controlled breathing, but when Faith was born she let out a cry.

“I always clung onto the hope that she would be OK”, Williams said.


The family were allowed to go home, but the problem got worse with the sac-like protrusion growing to 21cm in diameter – from 6cm at birth.

Faith was “in a lot of pain”, Williams said and an operation followed.

Surgeons removed the protrusion and fitted a shunt which directed any further fluid to Faith’s stomach.

She now needs MRI scans twice a year, but Williams commented: “We came home and she’s been fine and she’s been doing everything at three months that she should be doing and she will lead a totally normal life.”


She added: “It proves that doctors can be wrong” as baby Faith survived.

“She’s quite a determined little thing.”

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