Brendan Morgan with his 15 month old twin daughters Franky and Evie. Franky has been diagnosed with an extremely rare condition.
Brendan Morgan with his 15 month old twin daughters Franky and Evie. Franky has been diagnosed with an extremely rare condition.

34 seizures in three hours: Young family’s traumatic ordeal

NORMALLY, when Kat Hammond's kids wake up, they can be heard screaming and "yahooing" to no end. But six weeks ago, when her partner went to check on them, their 15-month-old daughter Franky Morgan was delirious and lying in a puddle of sweat.

"(My partner) panicked and called the ambulance and we went to Mackay hospital," Miss Hammond said.

"We were there from about 8.30 in the morning until 8.30 at night - she was having seizures on the right side of her body and clenching up."

The family was flown to hospital in Townsville that night where Franky was monitored for three days to try to find out what was happening. After a stint in the ICU she started to show signs of improvement and was moved to a ward.

From there it took a turn - Franky had 34 seizures in three hours.

"She had another MRI, and they saw all the brain damage she had on the left side of her brain. From their understanding it was causing brain damage," Miss Hammond said.

"Then after her MRI she started having unseen seizures. She was laying there, and the only way you could tell she was having a seizure was her pupils were getting really big."

Three days later, after Franky's seizures had been controlled in Brisbane's Royal Children's Hospital, doctors informed the family their daughter had been diagnosed with hemiconvulsion-hemiplegia-epilepsy syndrome.

It is a condition so rare that Miss Hammond said there were only four other known patients.

"What happened was she had a virus - just like a common cold," she said.

"Instead of her body fighting the cold it fought the left side of her brain, which then paralysed the whole right side of her body. She has had to learn to do everything again.

"It's one of those terrible things where it hits then it goes, we didn't have any signs she even had the flu."

The reason for this happening is not known to doctors, such is the rarity of the condition.

But with the help of medication, Franky's condition is now stable enough for the family to return to Mackay.

She is still partially paralysed on her right side, and will have to manage epilepsy for the rest of her life. But while the future implications of the ordeal are unknown, her outlook could have been far more severe.

"We could have lost her (and) it puts everything into perspective," Miss Hammond said.

"You've got to be positive about it, she's only young so if you're sitting there crying it's not helping her at all.

"We've just had to suck it up and be there for her. Don't get me wrong, it's horrible, but mentally you have to be there for your little girl."

The family stayed with the Ronald McDonald House and are hoping to return to Mackay on Friday.