Rare Diagnosis Saves Girl Thought to Have Brain Tumor


Once Near Death, Ohio Girl Is Now Back at School

The Vidikans took Keira to the local emergency room for an x-ray. Everything looked normal, so the ER doctor told the family to go home.

"But within five minutes, he came back into our room and drew the curtain and turned off the TV," said Vidikan, fighting back tears. "The radiologist found a problem in the brain stem."

But doctors could do nothing until the bleeding stopped and so they sent Keira home.

"That weekend she got worse," said her mother. "She was very, very drowsy and lethargic, and her strength was going."

When Keira arrived at the Cleveland Clinic on Monday, she had near-complete paralysis on the right side of her body, including her face, and her speech was slurred.

"The most noticeable thing was she was becoming very lethargic," said Rasmussen. "The brain stem area of the brain coordinates wakefulness. She had such pressure and distortion of the brain stem that she was heading toward coma. If this had gone on for a few more weeks, she would have died."

Vidikan said Rasmussen was "very plainspoken and confident, as well."

She knew surgery, which was scheduled for Dec. 20, would be risky.

The results were a "miracle," said Vidikan. Keira was discharged from the hospital on Christmas Eve.

"It was a great Christmas present for everyone," said Rasmussen.

Brain images show complete removal of the lesion.

"She should be cured and neurologically recovered almost completely," Rasmussen said. "The last time I saw her she was dragging her right foot, but it wasn't even noticeable two weeks after surgery."

That, according to her mother after the latest visit, has disappeared.

"Literally within hours, she was regaining neurological function," she said. "It's amazing how quickly it was. We thought she would always have a limp and slow speech, and maybe not have use of her arm again. But Christmas Eve, hour by hour, she was moving her fingertips and moving her arm.

"My husband and I talk about the irony of it," said Vidikan. "We met in optometry school and in neuroanatomy lab evaluating brain slices. I never dreamt that 13 years later it would come to any use."

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