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Home   Medway   News   Article

Strood toddler Harley Goodearl endures six-hour surgery to remould skull at Great Ormond Street Hospital

01 February 2014
by Rachael Woods

Surgeons have transformed a Strood tot's life after operating to correct his misshapen head.

Harley Goodearl, three, spent six hours under the knife at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

The youngster, of Seagull Road, had pieces of bone removed from his skull, which were then re-shaped and put back in the correct position.

Little Harley Goodearl had a rare condition causing his head to grow incorrectly

Little Harley Goodearl had a rare condition causing his head to grow incorrectly

Mother Mikaela Goodearl, 24, said it was a terrifying time.

"All I could do was stand around and wait," she said.

"I was worried that something bad would happen and I was sitting beside Harley's bed in the high dependency unit hours before he came back onto the ward.

"When I saw Harley he had this huge bandage across his head with two tubes coming out from it that were filled with blood."

Harley Goodearl recovering at Great Ormond Street Hospital after his operation

Harley Goodearl recovering at Great Ormond Street Hospital after his operation

Harley's condition is called craniosynostosis and happens when the bones in the skull start to fuse together prematurely, which prevents normal growth.

It is rare, affecting an estimated one in every 1,800 to 3,000 children - the majority of them boys.

People began to comment on the youngster's unusually long, narrow skull, so Mikaela tried to explain his condition and she is now keen to increase awareness.

She said: "When Harley was six months old his head circumference was found to be off the scale at a health clinic and he was referred for tests."

Of particular concern for Mikaela and Harley's father Anthony Grindrod was when Harley developed a squint just after his first birthday.

Surgeons performed a six-hour operation to correct the shape of Harvey Goodearl's skull

Surgeons performed a six-hour operation to correct the shape of Harvey Goodearl's skull

They feared his condition was causing more serious problems.

Harley now bears a huge scar and younger brother Kaiden, 23 months, has been told his sibling has had a bump to his head to stop him worrying too much.

Mikaela is in awe of the surgeons whose work means his head now has a normal appearance.

She said: "I can't believe what the surgeons have achieved – Harley looks like a completely different child."

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