Five-month-old Yamanoor was just born when a small swelling at the back of his head indicated a brain-size tumor in Bangalore. Hailing from Ballari’s Kushtagi taluk, Kariappa and his wife were distraught the day they took their newborn home, unaware of what to do next. “Doctors said my child was suffering from a brain defect. But I had no money to get him treated. So I left it to god and took him home, where my two other children were waiting to see their baby brother,” said Kariappa.

Five months later, Yamanoor was noticed by a health worker at a medical camp set up by Sapthagiri Hospital in Ballari. The boy was referred to the neurosurgical team at the hospital who concluded that Yamanoor was suffering from occipital encephalocele.

It’s a rare condition among infants where sac-like protrusions of the brain along with fluids bulge out, forming a swelling owing to a skull defect, doctors said.On March 28, Yamanoor underwent a life-altering surgery for free under the Vajpayee Arogyashree Scheme.The operation that lasted at least six hours would have otherwise cost Rs 2.5 lakh.

 After spending some time on a ventilator, Yamnoor was discharged on Thursday, said his father.Said neurosurgeon Dr Har iprakash Chakravarthy: “One in 5,000 kids across the world gets affected; those born with this condition have a delicate skin over the swelling and the brain is smaller than that of normal babies. Any pressure on this part can lead to death.”