Treating an infection in Ocean's skull

Ocean, 9, from London was treated at GOSH for Pott's puffy tumour – an abscess on the front bone in the skull. It is a complication caused by an infection, most often sinusitis.

Spotting the signs

Ocean’s mum Geeta was concerned when she spotted a lump on Ocean's head ‘the size of a tennis ball’. Ocean also had a bad headache and fever, and was vomiting. Fearing something wasn't right, Geeta took Ocean straight to the GP, where she was quickly referred to her local hospital.

After tests were carried out, including an ultrasound, the local hospital could unfortunately give no conclusive diagnosis and Ocean was discharged. But her symptoms persisted at home, so Geeta took Ocean back to hospital where she was referred to another hospital and admitted for more tests and antibiotics to fight what doctors suspected was an infection. 

Coming to GOSH

One of the doctors at this second hospital suspected Ocean had a Pott's puffy tumour, an abscess on the front bone of the skull caused by an infection. He had only seen the condition once before, due to its very rare nature. Ocean was urgently referred to Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH). 

Once at GOSH, Ocean had further tests including an MRI where doctors were able to confirm the diagnosis of Pott's puffy tumour. Ocean stayed in the hospital for two weeks where she received intravenous antibiotics and had the fluid from the tumour drained to be sent for further testing. Due to the rare nature of the condition it took some time to determine the right treatment plan for Ocean.

Unfortunately, a later MRI scan would show that the plan was unsuccessful, and the condition had a more significant impact than previously thought, penetrating the front bone of the skull and infecting the top part of the brain. Ocean was rushed to the operating theatre where surgeons were able to remove the mass and infected part of the skull, and put in a drain to remove the rest of the fluid. 

Thankfully this procedure was effective, and Ocean was able to leave the hospital after another few days recuperating on Koala ward, the hospital’s neurological ward. Ocean had a PICC line fitted – a long, thin, flexible tube usually inserted in the arm – which administered antibiotics to get rid of the last of the infection.

Ocean appeared on Paul O'Grady's Little Heroes

Ocean continues to improve and she is going from strength to strength, the PICC line was eventually removed and now Ocean is back to doing all the things she loves including going on holiday with her family.

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