Improving Treatment of Hydrocephalus.
Dr. Gary Magram, Children’s medical director of neurosurgery, works to improve the treatment of hydrocephalus by developing better devices and instruments.
With more than 20 years’ surgical experience, Dr. Magram is an expert on shunt design, holding several device patents. But he wants to do more, and a grateful patient family has decided to help.
Scott and Debbie Amey of Virginia donated $100,000 to provide seed money for the Hospital’s neurosurgery fund. They say their daughter, Kara, now 17, is alive and going to college next year because of Dr. Magram’s expertise. Dr. Magram treated Kara on the East Coast before coming to Children’s. “He saved my life,” agreed Kara.
When Kara was 10 years old, Dr. Magram diagnosed and removed a brain tumor. Weeks later she acquired hydrocephalus, a potentially life-threatening accumulation of fluid around the brain that affects about one in every 500 children. Dr. Magram surgically inserted a ventricular shunt system to relieve the pressure.
Appreciative of the funding, Dr. Magram has big plans. With project planning already underway, he identified and contacted companies to work with him on developing minimally invasive endoscopes specifically designed for neurosurgery; shunt components such as connectors; and a prototype for a more efficient shunt. Next on his list - if additional funding becomes available - is to improve the shunts’ exterior drainage mechanism and alarms for patient safety.
“These are projects I’ve dreamed about doing but didn’t have the money,” said Dr. Magram.
All donations to the neurosurgery fund directly benefit hydrocephalus research and development. None of the funding is used for grant writing, physician salaries or overhead.
“Dr. Magram has the vision and skill to develop better and more affordable shunts for patients here and around the world,” said Debbie. “That’s worth investing in.”