News from the Tennessee Valley State, Local and National news
TUESDAY, MAY 24, 2005

DAILY story results in 'miracle'
Reader suggestion leads to a surgery that eases boy's life

By Ronnie Thomas
DAILY Staff Writer 340-2438

EVA — A couple's desperate search for medical help for their 4-year-old grandson resulted in a blessing, according to his grandmother, Mae Hammac.

She said that on May 17 a physician at Children's Hospital in Birmingham successfully performed a procedure called vagus nerve stimulation, which reduced Dillon's epileptic seizures from between 200 and 250 per day to only six.

"I called the office of our surgeon, Dr. Jeffrey P. Blount, and told them how Dillon was doing," Hammac said. "They were really surprised. The procedure was only supposed to slow the seizures down, not stop them. They also are surprised how quickly Dillon responded to the treatment."

She said the few seizures her grandson is having are more intense but his life is so much better, not having to deal with so many.

Hammac said the doctor implanted a device in Dillon's chest and ran a wire through his neck to his brain.

"He remains on medication, but we are hopeful he will be coming off it soon," she said. She said he wears a helmet to protect his head during falls caused by seizures. She said he was supposed to have been wearing it all along, as all epileptic children are required to do.

Hammac said she and her husband, David, who live in the Oden Ridge community near Eva, won custody of the child and David Hammac's daughter in January 2002 in a Bell County, Texas, courtroom.

Mae Hammac said doctors told them earlier there was nothing more they could do for Dillon. She said someone called her after reading a story about her grandson's plight in THE DAILY in February and referred her to The Epilepsy Center in Birmingham.

"I called, and they told me to have our doctor, Dr. Pong Kankirawatana, refer Dillon to Dr. Blount," she said. "That's how the answers to our prayers and our miracle started."

She said Medicaid paid for the surgery and that the family also received donations from DAILY readers to help them defray personal costs.

"After so much heartache, we've been truly blessed," she said. "Dillon returns for a checkup June 1, and we're hoping for more good results."

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