After their baby had a stroke while still in the womb, Sharon and Shaun McLaughlin were told their daughter Caitlin would never walk, speak, or be able to see. Now, three years later, their little girl has defied the odds and shocked UK doctors.
The Mirror reports that baby Caitlin was born at Queen Charlotte’s Hospital, London in April of 2008. Her parents were told that the stroke had caused massive brain damage. With heavy hearts, the couple was eventually able to take their daughter to their home in Brentford, Middlesex.
But just over a year later, the family had their first sign that Caitlin's condition might not have been as dire as they were originally told. The baby girl giggled, a moment that her mother Sharon says “was one of the greatest moments of my life.”
Doctors were amazed that Caitlin went on to learn the word "mum," and even more amazed when tests revealed that the undamaged parts of her brain were capable of processing visual signals. Even more shocking: this appears to be the first recorded case where such a reorganization of the brain has happened in a child so young. In the words of Mrs. McLaughlin: "They'd never encountered that before and it's not in any textbooks. They were erupting in applause in the lab and going crazy."
Now 3 years old, Caitlin suffers from cerebral palsy and epilepsy, but is miraculously able to walk.
The stroke was so severe that it would have killed an adult, but because Caitlin was so young and her brain was still forming, new pathways developed that allowed the undamaged parts of her brain to take over duties from the damaged areas.
Caitlin will still continue to receive specialist medical treatments, but her parents are certain that she will continue to be full of surprises as she gets older.
“The doctors call her their miracle baby because they never believed she would do the things she is doing,” McLaughlin said.