A baby boy was born in Ohio, USA with the rare congenital condition encephalocele where the brain herniates outside of the skull. Although doctors declared that he won’t live long past his birth, Bentley Yoder, now 7 months old, proved them wrong and continues to defy all odds.
Baby Bentley was born on Nov. 1, 2015. His parents, Dustin and Sierra Yoder who came from a small town in Ohio called Sugarcreek, were told about Bentley’s defect during 22 weeks of pregnancy and were advised to undergo abortion.
However, they decided to forgo the abortion. On the day Bentley was born, everyone was preparing for the worst but a miracle happened.
“He was crying and he was breathing and he was moving,” Sierra told the Washington Post. “We were all just staring at him. For the first four or five hours of his life, we were all just waiting for something to happen.”
The baby was not put down so the medical professionals told the parents to bring Bentley home. Consequently, Bentley suffered respiratory infections twice before turning six months old.
They soon got their hopes up when they stumbled upon John Meara, a neurosurgeon at Boston Children’s Hospital. Together with the team at the hospital, Meara successfully slipped Bentley’s brain back into his skull this May 24.
Initially, the team utilized 3-D-printed models to orchestrate and practice the procedure. They had to expand Bentley’s cranium to fit his brain, which protruded 100 cubic centimetres outside the skull.
The surgeons used dissolving plates to hold Bentley’s cranium open while the brain smoothly falls back in. Bentley’s family were apprehensive but soon eased once they saw him in the recovery room.
“He was awake; he was looking at us,” Sierra Yoder adds. “He wasn’t cranky. He was just lying there, taking it all in.”
One month later, Bentley is now capable of holding his head. He seems just like any baby, smiling, eating and chattering.
Still, no one exactly knows what would happen to baby Bentley. Nevertheless, Sierra believes that Bentley will have a rewarding life.