Hope for tot born with 12 fingers and 11 toes

Charlie will have surgery to separate his fingers. Picture: contributed
Charlie will have surgery to separate his fingers. Picture: contributed
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THE mum of a brave tot born with twelve fingers and eleven toes is hoping a miracle operation can give him useable hands.

Two-year-old Charlie Hanlon was born with syndactyly and polydactyly – meaning that he has six fingers on each hand, and three on each are joined by bone right to the tip.

He also has an extra toe on his right foot and a slight fusion to the skull.

Mum Stephanie Hanlon, 23, also suffers from syndactyly and had fused fingers when she was growing up.

Charlie, described by his dad Jason Norman, 25, as a “wee soldier”, has recently had an MRI scan to see if there is the possibility of separating his fingers.

And now the family from Livingston are preparing for him to undergo more operations after Christmas.

Stephanie said: “I have the same condition – we didn’t know it was genetic until Charlie was born. My two daughters are fine, but I’ve had loads of operations myself.

“Charlie had an operation when he was nine months old as he has six fingers on each hand. Three fingers on each hand are fused together by bone, but the operation was not very successful.

“The three fingers were only sharing one artery, so they couldn’t separate them.

“Now he’s a bit older and the doctors have had a chance to think, they are going to try and operate again after Christmas.”

Until he is older, it is unknown how badly the condition will affect Charlie.

Stephanie said: “We aren’t sure if he will be able to hold a pencil to write his name.

“He can’t really bend his other fingers apart from his thumb and index fingers. We aren’t sure and won’t be until he starts nursery or 
school.”

Experts at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children are said to be hopeful that as Charlie grows they will be able to ease his condition.

Stephanie said her eldest child, Amber, five, had “got used to it”, and had accepted Charlie’s condition, but her daughter Isabella, six months, is too young to know anything is different.

She said: “Amber has kind of got used to it, she kind of accepted it. She asked once why Charlie’s hands were like that, and I said that he was born like that. She was about three-and-a-half.

“Now it’s only really brought up when someone else mentions it.”

Stephanie said that she had asked throughout each pregnancy if doctors could tell if she had passed the condition on to her children.

She said: “I mentioned it through all my pregnancies – and Isabella was fine.

“I said again when I was pregnant with Charlie, and doctors didn’t mention anything. Seeing that his hands were like that I felt a bit angry, fobbed off.”

As the condition is genetic, there is a 50 per cent chance any children Charlie has could inherit the condition, but Stephanie says there is a sense of relief with that, as “he won’t be alone like I was”.

She added: “I feel better now knowing that we both won’t feel alone and we will have each other to lean on when times get tough.”

newsen@edinburghnews.com