Small but Mighty

Layla Musgrove

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Layla and her mother Carrie from Beavercreek

Carrie Campbell of Beavercreek was 23 weeks into a “perfect pregnancy,” when she noticed a problem with her amniotic sac, which had dropped down. She was rushed to a local hospital and had emergency surgery to deliver a 1 lb, 6 oz baby girl on August 29, 2007. Little Layla Musgrove was first treated in a local high-risk pregnancy unit, but was soon moved to Dayton Children’s Regional Level III Newborn Intensive Care Unit when doctors at the other hospital noticed she had spinal fluid on the brain and would need the care of a pediatric neurosurgeon. Dayton Children’s has the only NICU in the region with easy access to all the pediatric subspecialists needed to address the complex medical needs of premature and sick newborns.


Layla first had a reservoir put in her head to drain the spinal fluid off her brain. A shunt was the next step, but doctors needed to wait until Layla weighed three pounds since this was a more involved procedure. She was only halfway there. The specialists at Dayton Children’s also learned that Layla needed heart surgery and eye surgery to correct some medical conditions common in premature infants. Layla’s brain and heart surgeries were performed when Layla was just 11 days old. Her eye surgery was performed soon after.

“We were devastated that Layla was born so early and that she had all these complications, but were also relieved that there was a hospital with the pediatric surgeons that could help her,” Carrie says.

Carrie felt welcome the minute she arrived at the NICU. “The staff was wonderful. I quickly learned that premature babies have many ups and downs; many good and bad days. The nurses in the NICU sat with you on the bad days, telling you everything would be OK. They celebrated the good days,” she remembers. “They didn’t just do this with me. They did it with all the parents. You could see their compassion.”

Layla left Dayton Children’s NICU on December 17, 2007, 111 days after she arrived. During her stay, she had seven surgeries performed by the hospital’s pediatric subspecialists. Layla is almost 24 months old. She and Carrie are familiar faces at Dayton Children’s as they continue with Layla’s follow-up care in rehabilitative services.

“When doctors at the other hospital discovered Layla’s brain bleed, they said she would probably be a vegetable. When I got to Children’s, they knew exactly what needed to be done, but they didn’t lie to me. Going into surgery they said she had a 50-50 chance of surviving the brain and heart surgeries since she was so tiny. But they also told me that every baby is different and she might do OK,” Carrie says. Doctors told her that if Layla survived, there would be many challenges ahead.

“I told the doctors I didn’t care about the challenges – I would take Layla however God gave her to me.”



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