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Alana Inslee. (click for larger version)
November 11, 2010
When an affliction is so dire that every treatment option has seemingly been exhausted, prayers and time are often the only effective remedies. Barring a medical miracle, 3-year-old Alana Inslee will need a lot of prayers.

Just months after birth, Alana was diagnosed with multiple complex syndromes, including Cranial Facial Syndrome and skeletal dysplasia. Exacerbating her condition is the fact that she was born without internal jugular veins, forcing her to undergo heart surgery in February 2008 and brain surgery in June 2009 to correct various complications.

On Oct. 7 of this year, she was taken to the pediatric ICU at UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester due to uncontrollable vomiting that doctors assumed was related to a shunt that had been placed inside her brain.

"We've taken Alana to more doctors than we can count, and they all said that pretty much nothing more can be done for her," said Alana's father, Gage Inslee, who has combined with his wife, Kim, to spend roughly $25,000 in medical bills and other expenses related to their daughter's care.

According to the reports multiple doctors and surgeons have given Gage and Kim Inslee, Cranial Facial Syndrome causes an obstructive pattern apnea that prevents oxygen from reaching the brain. As a result, blood often rushes to the brain, but since Alana does not have jugular veins to transport this blood back down to the heart, she experiences dangerous amounts of intracranial pressure. Doctors fear that this pressure could eventually cause a life-threatening stroke, although they have not defined an estimated time for when a stroke might occur.

"We attended a conference in Boston where about 40 doctors discussed Alana's condition," Gage Inslee said. "They agreed that she is a complex individual, and that they have never seen a case like her."

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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