Boehm Birth Defects Center Saving Lives

You wouldn't know it from looking at him now, but Conner Bynum, age 6, has undergone eight (8) invasive brain surgeries in his short lifetime. Conner contracted bacterial meningitis shortly after birth, acquiring secondary hydrocephalus, which is an accumulation of fluid on the brain.

At only 4 months old, he underwent a lifesaving surgery to install a shunt system into his brain that pumps the fluid from the brain ventricles to be absorbed elsewhere in the body. It is a lifesaving procedure and typically requires a lifetime of medical management and clinical follow up. 

The Center does not charge office visit co-pays, which really helps parents who bring their child to appointments multiple times a year. Conner has had 18 outpatient appointments, not including surgery and diagnostics, in the last 5 years.

From the beginning, his family was educated by the Center’s staff on signs and symptoms of shunt malfunctions at different ages, and so they have been very proactive over the years to contact the Center if he has headaches, vomiting or seems lethargic. 

Because of a better understanding of the diagnosis, prognosis and importance of intervention, Conner and his family have understood coming to regular appointments is important, and so any shunt malfunctions or ventricle enlargements have been caught early. Because the Center is located within the community, they have missed less school days and workdays because they don't have to travel to larger cities such as Atlanta, Knoxville or Nashville.