Karlie's Story » 2015-Jun-03

“I never thought it would happen to us, and truthfully I didn’t know anything about the George Jeffrey Children’s Centre.” - Susie Splett



Karlie Splett was born April 25, 2003, and began to experience seizures at 15 months. In the summer of 2005, the seizures became progressively more frequent to the point that they could occur 45 times a day. After two surgeries, Karlie was diagnosed with cortical dysplasia. Cortical dysplasia is a congenital abnormality wherein the neurons in an area of the brain fail to migrate in the proper formation in the uterus, causing the signals sent through the neurons in these areas to misfire, sending an incorrect signal which causes seizures.

At the very young age of two-and-a-half, Karlie underwent a right hemisperectomy, a very rare surgical procedure to control and stop her seizures. Hemispherectomy is a procedure used to treat a variety of seizure disorders. One cerebral hemisphere (half of the brain) is removed or disabled. The procedure is reserved for extreme cases in which the seizures have not responded to medications or other less invasive surgeries.

After Karlie’s surgery, she recovered at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, then Karlie and her mother stayed at Bloorview Children’s Centre in Toronto for two months. The hemisperectomy surgery saved Karlie’s life but left her unable to walk or talk. Karlie’s mother knew she would require extensive therapy and also realized that the stress of being away from home would hinder Karlie’s recovery, so she called George Jeffery Children’s Centre and arranged for her to continue her therapy in Thunder Bay.  Karlie started at the Centre, January 20016 and underwent intensive speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physiotherapy.  Karlie will always struggle with the weakness in her left side, and her therapy will be continuous. With the need for ongoing therapy, therapists at the Centre participated in Karlie's transition from Centre to school, and Karlie continues to receive occupational therapy and physiotherapy at the school she attends.

Susie Splett states, “Karlie has just celebrated her twelfth birthday and is an active, happy little girl, and thankfully is seizure free. Our family is so grateful to the knowledgeable therapists and for the professional services provided to Karlie and our family by the George Jeffrey Children’s Centre. I say that the doctors saved Karlie’s life, but George Jeffrey Children’s Centre gave her her life back. I’m sure our story would be much different if we didn’t have them here in our lives and community.”

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