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Aledo girl 'looking good' after brain surgery, doctor says

Jessie Hall, the 6-year-old Aledo girl who underwent surgery to remove the right half of her brain Wednesday, "is looking good," Dr. Eileen Vining, director of the pediatric epilepsy center at Johns Hopkins Children's Center, said Thursday afternoon.

"The surgery went very well yesterday, and she's still very heavily sedated because otherwise she'd be moving around a lot, and we have to keep the right side of her head up, but we've already seen movement on her left side, and so we are very pleased," Dr. Vining said. "It's just a matter of time to when she's feeling a little better, and we can lighten her up."

"She is still critical, but her vital signs are stable, and everyone is encouraged. She is stirring a bit today, and we've even seen a little movement on her left side," added Kim Hoppe, associate director of communications and public affairs for the Children's Center, just after visiting with the family in the intensive care unit at Hopkins.

Because the right sign of the brain, which normally controls movement on the left side, was surgically removed in the "hemispherectomy," a radial procedure undertaken to stop severe and uncontrollable seizures on one side of the brain, the left hand and arm movement was especially encouraging, said Cris Hall, Jessie's dad.

"The nurse even got movement in her left toes in response to squeezing them. We know we can't bank on that but we are cautiously optimistic," Cris Hall said in a telephone visit about 1:30 p.m. Thursday. "It's going to take months, but we got through her surgery, and everything is moving in the right direction. ... We just want to be at her side holding her hand and kissing her and telling her how much we love her, but they are trying to keep her as quiet as possible. ... The nurse said she woke up for a couple of seconds earlier today and said, 'I want my Momma.'"

Jessie is expected to be in the Hopkins ICU about five days and in a regular room about a week before starting intensive rehabilitation in Baltimore.

"We would like to get her into Cook Children's in Fort Worth for additional rehab therapy as quickly as possible because we think it would be best for Jessie to be closer to home, but we have to wait and see what the doctors all say," Cris Hall said.

For the latest information about Jessie, visit her father's blog at jessiekelley.blogspot.com.

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