Teenager with brain tumour baffles doctors with world-first infection
Blake, 16, has battled a brain tumour, meningitis and a fungal infection that spread to his brainWe're so glad to have him home, say his parents
15:12 GMT, 31 August 2012
A teenager has baffled doctors with an infection never recorded before in medical history.
Blake Munton, 16, from Grimsby, has lived with a brain tumour for eight years but is now recovering from a rare medical first.
After six operations and contracting meningitis, doctors discovered a fungal infection, called aspergillis, had spread from his stomach, up the shunt and into his brain – something which has never been recorded before.
Doctors at Sheffield Children's Hospital controlled the infection just in time and Blake finally returned home this month.
Blake has a brain tumour, which doctors have shrunk using radiotherapy. Pictured with his mother Carol and father Brian
He still has the aspergillis infection but it is now being controlled, although he has no idea how it will affect him in the future.
In 2004, Blake was rushed to hospital after suffering a seizure in Cuba while on holiday with his parents, Brian and Carol, and an MRI scan revealed he had a large tumour in the back of his head.
It had caused a fluid build-up in his brain, which had been causing dizziness for nearly a year, so Cuban surgeons fitted a shunt to release the fluid into his stomach.
Since then, he has had radiotherapy in Sheffield to shrink the tumour and four more shunts fitted in the UK, but six months ago his stomach became bloated, so his parents took him back to Sheffield.
After draining the fluid, doctors discovered aspergillis on the shunt fitted in Cuba, so he underwent a second operation, this time lasting four hours, to remove it.
Blake still faces a battle with his health but is glad to be back at home
Blake continued to suffer with the infection, despite drips pumping his body with antibiotics and antifungicides all day long for weeks.
Doctors operated again to remove another shunt and install one on the outside of his head, which released fluid into a bag. Unfortunately, a stitch burst and he contracted meningitis through the wound.
Doctors upped the dose of antibiotics to fight the disease as, by this point, Blake's immune system was almost totally inactive.
Blake then had another operation to remove the exterior shunt and fit another on the other side of his head, yet nothing seemed to be working and doctors were baffled. They contacted neurosurgeons worldwide, but none identified the problem.
A cloudy area on a brain scan revealed that aspergillis had spread from his stomach, up the shunt and into his brain something that had never been recorded in history.
He said: 'I am just so glad to be back coming home is all I have thought about since going to hospital.'
Father Brian, 44, said: 'There were a couple of times when we thought we might lose him.
'The doctors were trying to save his life but he spent so long on antibiotics that his immune system was shot, which made many treatments impossible.
'No one has ever had this kind of infection on the brain before so we have no idea what will happen we are totally blind.
'We are just enjoying having him home and think it is amazing how well he is doing.'
Mother Carol, 51, said: 'He has been incredibly brave throughout. No matter what happened, he never grumbled and has kept us laughing every day. I am so glad to have him home.'