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Baby Joscelyn Dempsey’s Brain Surgery Story

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Bab Joscelyn Dempsey's Brain Surgery Story
Two-year-old Joscelyn Dempsey from Mount Dora, Florida isn’t able to talk yet, but if she could, she might say “I train neurosurgeons.” That’s what her t-shirt says anyway. 

Over a 12 month period between 2012 and 2013, Joscelyn underwent five radical brain surgeries during which epilepsy specialists and surgeons from Florida Epilepsy Center operated on her skull and removed almost the entire left side of her brain. Her parents, Jennifer and Michael Dempsey, decided to try the risky intervention a year ago because the left side of Joscelyn's brain was abnormally larger than the right and triggered uncontrollable, potentially deadly seizures.

Leading a team of experts and neurosurgeons, Dr. Ki Hyeong Lee, medical director of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at Florida Hospital for Children, consulted specialists from Cleveland to California about Joscelyn’s challenging case.

After an exhaustive research process and many discussions with Joscelyn’s parents, specialists from Florida Epilepsy Center performed a fifth brain surgery. The procedure took place on February 27, 2013 and took 11 hours. Since then, Joscelyn has been seizure-free.

"The whole idea of recovery is possible when you stop seizing. It's proven," Dr. Lee said. "There is no bad influence from the left hemisphere anymore. The question is: Does the right [side] have enough function? ... It's not a slam dunk, but God willing, I think that's going to happen. "I have no doubt she is going to be able to learn. My gut feeling is she's going to be able to sing a song in the next few years."

To read more about Joscelyn’s brain surgery, read the full Orlando Sentinel story here: