Anoxic Brain Injury with Babies (Kristina’s Story)
I treated my niece Kristina in a Hyperbaric chamber at 3 months old for possible Anoxic brain injury. The story begins with my sister having a completely normal pregnancy. The whole family was patiently waiting for the first baby of the family to be born. At the hospital, my sister’s active labor was a little longer than expected. There were not any signs of distress to baby Kristina. My sister was in labor for 23 hrs. While prepping her for a C-section my niece started to come out.
When she was born she did not start breathing, blue baby, a code blue was initiated, it seemed like forever from the time CPR started to get her on oxygen & intubated.
She was then transported to downtown Orlando where she was put in the Neonatal intensive care for two weeks. We were all worried that she was not going to make it home.
After getting out of the hospital she was not developing correctly. Her physicians noted it was probably due to the situation at birth and recommended we wait to evaluate for brain injury (Anoxic Brain Injury) once she gets old enough to check her.
My employer at the time a World Known Physical Therapists and Pioneer in Hyperbaric Medicine Raymond Cralle, RTP insisted that timing is of the essence and explained the importance of her seeking treatment immediately. Mr. Cralle has treated many children suffering from brain injuries, so I was 100% confident that he knew exactly what we needed.
I did not want to wait the 3 years to confirm brain injury, so I encouraged my sister to allow us to treat her using a lower depth and decreased time due to her small size. This was deemed very controversial due to her young age and size, but I knew if she was my own child I would try it.
We first put her in the Hyperbaric Chamber at 3 months to see how she would do. That first treatment she did not have any problems. With the generosity of my employer at the time, he encouraged us to allow him to continue treatment for her. She completed 20 treatments by the time she was 6 months old. She did great and started to show development super quickly.
Kristina continued to develop as the years went on, but something did not seem right to my sister. My sister noticed while observing her play with her dolls, she would move the dolls around, but would never say a word. If she tried to speak to kids on the playground she would just start speaking random words that did not make sense. She also would try to interact with kids but then go off on to a corner for them to try to follow her. She did that a lot.
My sister then had her evaluated by a Speech therapist at the age of 2. Upon initial evaluation, her speech therapists diagnosed her with Mixed receptive-expressive language disorder. A mixed receptive-expressive language disorder is diagnosed when a child has problems expressing him-or herself using spoken language and has problems understanding what people say to him or her. There are two types of mixed receptive-expressive language disorder: developmental and acquired. Developmental mixed receptive-expressive language disorder does not have a known cause and normally appears at the time that a child is learning to talk. The acquired mixed receptive-expressive language disorder is caused by damage to the brain.
Two years later my sister then had her pediatrician do a complete evaluation on her. He deemed her below average on developmental milestones, so he referred her to have additional speech and physical therapy.
The physical therapists noticed that she would walk on her tippy toes and her balance & coordination was below average for her age. Kristina would have difficulty standing on one leg without assistance.
At this time, I had just opened my office and I knew it was time for Kristina to combine Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy with these adjunct therapies. I was able to arrange the different therapies to come to her here at the office. This made it very easy with the combination of her Hyperbaric treatments. Again, we treated her with a specialized protocol for a total of 30 Hyperbaric sessions. She would also have Speech Therapy and Physical Therapy weekly.
When Kristina started her second set of Hyperbarics she was unable to say 3 words consecutively, other than that my sister would have to tell her what to say. The goal was to get her to start saying sentences. Now upon completion of treatment, she has surpassed all her goals of speaking sentences a lot quicker than the speech therapist had thought. She has started speaking Spanish, recalling numbers, and the alphabet as well.
Since being discharged from Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy she continues to surpass all her goals at her therapies. She loves people, has no problem telling you about her day, and can’t wait to make new friends.