When new parents Shelly and Rob Wall went in for their 20-week ultrasound, they were expecting to see a healthy baby boy. Instead, the British couple was met with the most horrifying news: Their baby had an array of complex medical conditions that meant he would likely not survive outside the womb.
Their child had spina bifida, a condition that prevents a baby’s spine from forming properly, which inevitably leads to defects in the spinal cord and bones of the spine. If that wasn’t bad enough, the couple’s unborn baby was also diagnosed with hydrocephalus, a condition which causes the skull to fill up with fluid.
Staggeringly, despite all the warnings from doctors to prepare for the worst, the couple’s son was born alive. Shortly after he arrived into the world, they named him Noah. Quickly, medics began to drain the liquid in his brain and assessed his overall condition. The family was devastated to learn that he had only had two percent of his brain matter.
Incredibly, however, Noah was able to eat and drink due to his brain stem bring intact. So, the family soldiered on.
Three years later, Noah continued to defy the odds. When he underwent a much-anticipated brain scan, the doctors were flabbergasted — his brain had grown exponentially. After three years, 80 percent of his brain matter had been restored.
Dr. Gregory Scott, Noah’s primary physician and a neuroscience specialist at Imperial College London, believes that the shunt inserted to drain cranial fluid may have made space for the boy’s brain cells to multiply. But in terms of the biological mechanics of how the re-growth took place, he has no explanation. It was miraculous.
“I think Noah’s case tells us that we should look more at children and how the child’s brain achieves plasticity — its ability to recover,” Dr. Scott told The Passionate Eye. “If we can learn how it does that, then maybe we could improve the recovery of adults as well as children after a brain injury.”
Now 6 years old, Noah has grown from strength in his formative years, overcoming every obstacle presented to him. He recently wrote his own name for the first time.
“Noah’s doing amazingly well — he can write, he knows how to spell his name, he can hold a conversation,” Shelly Wall told The Evening Chronicle last year.
He is also becoming quite the genius on his iPad. He can hold complex conversations, and has even spoken in front of large crowds, with no fear! According to his mom, Noah is even partial to practical jokes. In short, he is an absolute miracle.
A new film featuring the astonishing story is set to air on Canada’s CBC News Network. “Miracle Child” will air December 15.