Amazing Kids, Amazing Stories: Emily's Story
Emily Wall of Windsor, Wisconsin has been a frequent hospital patient since being diagnosed at age 1 with hydrocephalus, a life-threatening condition in which excess cerebral spinal fluid builds up in the brain.
Accordingly, Emily requires a surgically implanted shunt in her head that helps drain the fluid from her head to her abdomen, where it is reabsorbed in the body.
Even though her first shunt was implanted when she was 17 months old. Over the years, she has required several surgeries to replace the shunt, including three in 2005.
"On New Year's Day, 2005," recalls Emily's mom, Debi Wall, "Emily was having terrible headaches. We brought Emily into the emergency room at UW Children's Hospital."
There, Bermans Iskandar, MD, a pediatric neurosurgeon, performed emergency surgery to replace Emily's shunt.
"We were there for nine hours that day," Debi remembers. "From the minute we arrived in the ER, staff was there to help calm the situation. They stayed with us in the holding area just before Emily's operation, repeatedly offered to get me something - a drink, a tissue, anything. Because of the way the staff took care of me, I could be a better parent and more comforting to Emily."