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Braden Hagood


Braden Hagood, a child with epilepsy, had brain mapping surgery to find the source of his seizures.

Braden Hagood
Age 5

Braden Hagood was a healthy, vibrant, baby boy, but around age 2 ½, his parents Zelda Wesley and Raymond Hagood noticed that sometimes his lips would twitch and his hands would move uncontrollably. These symptoms became progressively worse, and Braden began to experience seizures on a daily basis, even falling to the floor at times. “After a seizure, Braden would be disoriented, groggy, and weak,” said Ms. Wesley. “We sought medical attention right away.”

Braden first saw doctors close to home in Morgantown, W.Va., for treatment. After two medications failed to control the problem, his neurologist recommended that they travel to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC to see a child neurologist.

To add to this mix of activity, Zelda and Raymond had just welcomed another son, Brent, into the world three months before Braden’s seizures began. “We certainly had a lot going on with a new baby and five other children to care for, but we relied on each to pull through,” said Ms. Wesley. “Braden’s sister, Alexandra, is two years older than he and would help us ‘track’ the seizures. She really kept an eye on her brother.”

In May 2008, Braden was seen at Children’s Pediatric Epilepsy Center, after which he was directly admitted to the hospital. Following an EEG and an MRI, Braden’s physician discovered an abnormality in his left frontal lobe.

Epilepsy Focus Mapping

Braden Hagood with his dad. Braden is living seizure-free after epilepsy surgery.
Braden then underwent further testing through an innovative procedure called epilepsy focus mapping to determine exactly where his seizures were originating. EEG electrode grids were placed directly onto Braden’s brain to map seizure activity. With video EEG, specialists can determine a seizure’s point of origin within millimeters. In Braden’s case, the seizures all originated from the same area of the brain, in the same location as the abnormality, which qualified him for surgery. Children’s Hospital evaluates as many as 50 patients yearly for this type of surgery, but only a few actually meet the criteria.

“We were very fortunate and were extremely happy to learn that Braden’s seizures could be stopped by having surgery,” said Ms. Wesley. “Of course, it’s frightening, but we knew we were in good hands.”

Thanks to their large family support system, Ms. Wesley was able to stay at the hospital with Braden before, during, and after his surgeries. “His head hurt and he was exhausted and nervous and just wanted ‘mom.’ The fact that I could stay with him made things so much easier, particularly receiving IVs which was hard for him because his veins had become so weak,” said Ms. Wesley. “We found that with our large family, visits could get exhausting and overwhelming for Braden. Children’s did a great job of helping us limit visitors and external stimulation.”

Resection Surgery

Pediatric neurosurgeons were able to completely remove the abnormality without affecting Braden’s motor functions, even though they had to operate right along the motor strip, which controls many bodily motions. “This is a tough surgery, but Braden came through beautifully and bounced right back. He was discharged from the ICU in one day,” said his mom. “Recovery still took a little while, as he could not walk for two days and smiled lopsided. Four days post-surgery, he was running, and by day 10 his smile had returned to normal.” Only a few children’s hospitals in the nation perform this type of surgery, and the majority of patients who undergo these procedures at Children’s are typically seizure-free or experience a significant decrease in the frequency of their seizures.

Excellent Prognosis

Today, Braden is back to normal but for a few tones and pitches he can’t hear as a result of removing the abnormality. Also, having been right-handed prior to the surgery, he’s now a lefty. Braden will take medication for one year post-surgery and will undergo an annual MRI and EEG for 10 years to ensure that he’s not seizing and that another abnormality will not develop.

Braden’s mom says he does not remember much about the surgery but misses the toys he played with at the hospital!

“Now that he is well, I have been able to refer friends who have children who were experiencing seizures to Children’s Hospital, and they also have benefitted immensely from its services. I can’t say enough about the nurses and doctors at Children’s Hospital. I am forever grateful,” Ms. Wesley says.

Braden, now 5, is happy, healthy, and seizure-free as he heads to nursery school each morning. Ms. Wesley notes that the experience has led her and her family to appreciate every moment together, saying, “You’re always worried after something like this happens because you no longer have that innate feeling of security, but Children’s Hospital has given us, and Braden, a new lease on life.”

Schedule a consultation with Children's Hospital's Pediatric Epilepsy Surgery Program.

Learn about other epilepsy patients whose lives have been improved by their experience at Children's Hospital.


Last Update
October 10, 2013
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Last Update
October 10, 2013