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TODDLER MAKES REMARKABLE RECOVERY FROM TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY
March 26, 2001

An 18-month-old boy, reportedly the youngest patient in the nation to undergo placement of a new brain oxygen monitor which provided vital information used to save his life, was discharged from Children's Hospital of Orange County at Mission (CHOC at Mission) after making an extraordinary recovery. Antonio (Anton) La Rosa suffered a near-fatal traumatic brain injury after being struck by a car exactly one month ago. However, thanks to a new surgically implanted brain monitoring device called the LICOX Brain Tissue Oxygen Monitor, the trauma team at Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center and CHOC at Mission was able to save the toddler's life.

"Prior to the LICOX monitoring system, we were unable to monitor brain oxygen levels in children under 8 years of age. We relied solely on a monitor which measures brain pressure, called I.C.P. or intracranial pressure monitor," explained Mary Kay Bader, MSN, R.N. and Neurological Clinical Nurse Specialist. "The only other method to monitor brain oxygen (jugular bulb oxygen monitoring), which we've been using for four years, is designed for bigger patients age 8 and older. This new technology finally allows us to access critical information on brain oxygen and blood flow in small children and helps us direct our treatment to save lives. The LICOX system can be used on patients of all ages, children to adults."

The LICOX Brain Tissue Oxygen Monitor, recently approved by the Federal Drug Administration, is surgically implanted through the patient's skull via small catheter probes. Sensors then monitor crucial brain tissue oxygen levels. The medical staff determines the treatment protocol based on the information received from the monitor.

After the patient is stabilized and the brain swelling diminishes, the brain catheter is easily removed generally 5 - 7 days after placement. Mission Hospital and CHOC at Mission are only one of a select group of hospitals nationwide that are using the LICOX monitor.

Doctors say Anton's prognosis looks good; he's already feeding himself like any other toddler, smiling and playing ball. The young boy will now be transferred from CHOC at Mission to a local rehabilitation center for 1-2 weeks where he'll undergo additional treatment before returning to his Mission Viejo home. His parents, Cindy and Brian La Rosa said they are still in awe of his miraculous recovery.

"We were told that our son, Anton, had a less than 1% chance of surviving, and that even if he did, he had already sustained severe brain damage," commented Cindy La Rosa. "My family and I would like to express our deepest thanks to all the people who kept a clear head and a steady hand, and let God work his miracle through them... our son was blessed with the best team and technology to work on him."

About CHOC Children's: Named one of the best children’s hospitals by U.S. News & World Report (2013-2014) and a 2013 Leapfrog Top Hospital, CHOC Children's is exclusively committed to the health and well-being of children through clinical expertise, advocacy, outreach and research that brings advanced treatment to pediatric patients. Affiliated with the University of California, Irvine, CHOC’s regional healthcare network includes two state-of-the-art hospitals in Orange and Mission Viejo, several primary and specialty care clinics, a pediatric residency program, and four centers of excellence - The CHOC Children’s Heart, Neuroscience, Orthopaedic and Hyundai Cancer Institutes.

CHOC earned the Gold Level CAPE Award from the California Council of Excellence, the only children’s hospital in California to ever earn this distinction, and was awarded Magnet designation, the highest honor bestowed to hospitals for nursing excellence.  Recognized for extraordinary commitment to high-quality critical care standards, CHOC’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) is the first in the United States to earn the Pediatric Beacon Award for Critical Care Excellence.

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Media Contact:
Denise Almazan, Director of Public Relations
phone: (714) 509-8680
email: pr@chocchildrens.org

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