Help may be on the way for India's Runa Begum, the desperately ill girl who tugged at hearts around the world when photos of her were published last week.
Neurosurgeon Sandeep Vaishya told Agence France-Presse that the India-based healthcare group Fortis will fly the girl down from her home, in the country's Tripura region, to its hospital near New Delhi. He will examine Runa (or Roona, as spelled in other reports) and conduct an MRI to find out if surgery can help her condition. A Fortis charity will fund an operation, as well, he said.
Begum reportedly has hydrocephalis, which causes cerebrospinal fluid to pool in the skull. Her family is too poor to pay for medical care, according to previous reports.
While Vaishya said he was "hopeful" that the girl could be helped, Chicago-based pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Peter Heydemann told The Huffington Post that the pressure on her brain could have created irreversible damage. He also suggested Runa might have hydranencephaly, a fluid buildup where the brain is absent.
Hydrocephalus is often treated by inserting a shunt into the affected region and letting the excess liquid drain elsewhere in the body. The procedure is not considered complicated.
But Runa's head has expanded to 36 inches in circumference, and she can no longer "sit upright or crawl," per AFP.
Runa's plight has moved others to action. A campaign from MyGoodAct.com had raised more than $16,000, as of Monday afternoon.