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The Story of Tommy’s Big Head

Kalvin and Leah Greuel of Hawley, Minnesota, adopted Tommy soon after he was born to a woman that Leah met at Walmart. That in itself is a story, but then Tommy suffered from a mysterious condition that caused his head to grow too fast.

At 6 months old, it was off the charts for his age group. At 9 months, it was nearly the size of a 5-year-old’s. No one they consulted had seen anything like it. The Greuels started looking for specialists and for answers.

On June 26, 2010, before they found the latter, Tommy had a seizure that lasted more than six minutes. Leah took him to the emergency room, where tests showed bleeding in the brain, hemorrhages in both eyes and a fluid build-up in his skull.

They were symptoms of Tommy’s condition, exacerbated by everyday bumps and stumbles. His connective tissue was weak, particularly around his eyes, and his brain was bruised from bumping into the inside of his own skull.

The Greuels didn’t know that yet. Neither did the hospital staff, who instead saw his symptoms as telltale signs of something else: shaken baby syndrome.

The hospital called Clay County Social Services, which said the injuries were evidence of child abuse – and that Kaylee was in danger as well.

And one day in early July, the agency took both children away.

The story continues with the Greuel’s struggle to get their children back, and an even bigger struggle to get medical help for Tommy while the state had custody. See, the social service agency didn’t think Tommy needed to keep his appointments with specialists because they already knew that the problem was shaken baby syndrome. Read the entire story so far at InForum. Link to part one. Link to part two (with video). -via Minnesota Public Radio

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April 24th, 2012

Stranger to the World


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