Liam Heffernan Photo by: Home photo

Liam Heffernan making amazing progress in New York


Liam Heffernan Photo by: Home photo

Two-year old Liam from Kerry, Ireland, underwent cutting-edge brain surgery in a New York hospital this month and thankfully his recovery has been described by doctors as 'awesome'.

Little Liam Heffernan suffers from a rare neurological disorder called Battens Disease. The young boy is now the youngest child to ever undergo a gene transfer procedure.

Now an only child to parents Tony and Mary Heffernan, who reside in Castledrum, Keel in Co Kerry, after losing his five-year old sister Saoirse to the same disease earlier this year.

After a 24-hour scan to measure electrical activity in his brain, the doctors at Weill Cornell University Hospital drilled six holes into the toddler's skull as part of the surgical procedure.

As reported in the Irish Examiner, The neurologist leading the medical team have told the boy’s parents that they can plan to return home a week earlier than expected because of his exceptional recovery. Following the procedure, Liam astounded staff by sitting up unaided and drinking by himself while watching his favourite cartoon on a portable DVD player.


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Liam's dad says he has noticed less seizures since the operation, and that there has been a huge improvement with his speech, coming out with new words every day.

However heart-wrenching it is for the parents who could not save their daughter Saoirse with the same treatment as she had been too weak, are indeed overjoyed at the prospect of their young boy's body accepting these life-saving genes.

"The best we can wish for is that he will have a normal life, of course, but the next best thing would be an extension of life. We were told that if this treatment did not work he would not live past the age of four," he told the Irish Examiner.


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