Boy born without a brain lives to be 12 years old, dies peacefully

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SHREVEPORT, Louisiana — A boy, who lived until he died peacefully at the age of 12, defied all odds after being born without a brain.

He died on Monday, living longer than any doctor ever predicted.

According to KSLA, Trevor Judge Waltrip was born on Christmas Eve of 2001 with just a brain stem and hydranencephaly. He had a rare condition in which his brain’s cerebral hemispheres were completely missing, replaced with only cerebro-spinal fluid.

The condition has no known cure or treatment.

Waltrip was unable to communicate and was also blind, but he did have a heartbeat and was able to breathe on his own. He also could respond to some forms of stimulus.

The boy lived with the help of a feeding tube and therapists who stimulated his muscles and joints.

“He’s so alert and hates to be alone,” his mother, Elizabeth, told KSLA.

Originally doctors were unsure if Waltrip would be able to make it past just 12 weeks old, since babies with the condition usually don’t live to be born.

But he defied the odds by nearly living to be a teenager.

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    • Miriam

      Nature did take its course. That’s what people don’t understand. Giving up isn’t natural. He had a heartbeat, responded to stimuli. Nature did take its course and for each one of us that is different and no one can say with any certainty when that is. I could be born totally healthy and die the same day in an accident. So I say again. Nature did take its course. That’s not for You or I to decide.

        • holocloud

          And that something is dumb humans leveraging the work of smarter humans, through exchange of money.

          Well… I suppose you could at least say that the parents didn’t make the kid suffer, because there wasn’t enough of a mind there for him to understand suffering.

        • Miriam

          There are many people who are on a ventilator. The article said he responded to stimuli. Obviously your definition of life support and mine are different and in the medical field there are those differences also. In this case is those on one side saying he was born without a brain and those saying that since he had a brain stem and spinal fluid he was not born without a brain. But we all have a right to what our beliefs are. Are feelings are. This makes for a good debate or whatever you want to call it. It’s healthy. If we all believe the same thing then there would be no one challenging us. We probably wouldn’t have cures for disease and other things there would not be any research done. If someone said something couldn’t happen and our beliefs are all the same why would we need research. And if no research people would not live as long as we do we’d have no vaccines no medical cures. We wouldn’t have have all the technology we have today. So it does not bother me when others don’t believe in what I believe in. I think it’s a very healthy thing. When others start realizing that and allow others to have a different opinion then and only then will the fighting stop. I guess you could say I am being kept alive artificially I have a feeding tube I have an implanted IV line and without those I would not be alive. So here we are again with the debate over what is life support and for each one of us to decide what it is for ourselves and others to respect that.

          • Mike Trujillo

            Are you suffering from the same condition as the poor ‘child’? That organism didn’t have a BRAIN. Yes it has a BRAINSTEM but that being the most basic structure of the brain it was more akin to a goldfish than any actual human being whom can feel and actually recognize the ‘stimuli’ (EVERYTHING) that it’s body could perceive. If it indeed had any consciousness, or a soul for that matter(we don’t posses such fables) it was ensnared within a body that had no business living, without the aid of modern technological advances. You simply, sadly have the wrong idea that any, and every abnormality is a gift from you Deity of choice. It’s not. What this poor family did was just prolong their heartache, instead of snipping it in the bud they made a spectacle of this poor individuals life. And surely endowed themselves with quite a bit of debt if they’re asking for help with funeral costs…I am sorry that they went through this, but it was their mistaken choice to keep something without full functionality of a most vital bodily structure.

          • holocloud

            He was born with the most basic and primitive part of an the ancient animal brain. Enough to run the most basic of life support systems. A rat is a far more advanced lifeform than what this child was… Really, the child was born dead (or rather, never alive). His body and basic life support functioning doesn’t change that… A body is just a machine. You could use computers to keep a human body running too.


            YES, HE WAS! HE WAS BORN WITHOUT CEREBRAL BRAIN!!! No manner of twisting the words or manipulating the facts is going to change the scientific fact that he was born without a cerebral brain, maam.

        • brittmamasblog

          It doesn’t say life support, it says a feeding tube. You have to feed a baby because they are unable to do it themselves. Your letting nature take its course because we naturally know to feed our children. This boy wasn’t able to feed himself, so like a baby, they fed him. Now if he had been hooked up to life support in a hospital all these years, then that would be considered not letting nature take its course. It appears that he died when nature was ready. Nature let him live 12 years. They didn’t starve him just as you wouldn’t starve a baby.

      • WhatWouldJoeDo(WWJD)

        Giving up is natural to humans, we are the only species that do it. Religion teaches people to give up. That is what prayer is, giving up. Quiting and letting someone/thing take your power to make decisions. It’s very natural for humans, that’s why not giving up is so prized in a human, it’s rare.

        • Miriam

          Praying doesn’t mean you gave up it’s asking God to guide those who are trying to help you and give you strength God never gives you more than you can handle. God doesn’t tell you not to seek out help each of us has different abilities and knowledge and for us to seek those individuals out we still need doctor’s nurses and others in the medical field. God has blessed these individuals.

      • April Monaco

        Mirium I am so glad that you made your eloquent statement before you divulged that you have a ventilator and a feeding tube,(it served to emphasize your point when you might other wise have been dismissed as biased) these people who claim that these children are pretty much disposable should be ashamed of themselves. Not to get on the preaching pulpit here but the value of human life is intrinsic but also some people have such narrow views of the world based only on their own experiences. They don’t even strive to seek challenges or to understand the scope of what they are implying by saying “let nature takes it course” and then when it does, minimizing the implications. Those children were loved and thankfully by someone who was willing to provide that care until God called them home. Good for you for making a convincing but unashamed and non-judgemental argument for life.

    • Saris

      There wasn’t any quality of life there. It wasn’t really alive and didn’t understand the idea of suffering. There was no misery to put it out of.

  • LC

    What does it look like to defy the odds, this was it. Truly amazing, his quality of life was not up to us. We can look at people all day and not see there quality in life, but others seen it. He died peacefully and loved what more quality in life could there be? God made no mistake in his making.

    • AkaiKoru

      You’re right what an amazing gift he gave this family. A child born without a brain, without the ability to communicate, to learn, to grow up and have relationships, to eat by his own hand, to have a job, and dignity, and a full lifespan. god is simply amazing in his love and care. I am sure this family isn’t saddled with unbelievable medical bills, that they didn’t go through hell every day of his life waiting for the inevitable, that they didn’t blame themselves, and others for this. What wonderful gifts god gave. Epicurus said it best: “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?” Take your pick.

      • JonWayn1970

        You’re absolutely right. Short-sighted credit god after anything goes well, but if the same thing were to go to ruins, they don’t see it as god’s inaction. It’s about as dumb and double-standard as it gets. Their unwillingness to explain what sense they see in their opinions is clear indication of their awareness of their self-delusion

  • Modest Prude

    the poor deluded mother: “he’s so alert and hates to be alone”. he didn’t have a brain, didn’t have the capacity to be alert, that’s like saying your tulips are alert. or that your tulips hate to be alone.

    • Johann Popper

      Who is deluded? What do you know about his capacity for feeling? Nothing. You never met the boy or his mother, yet you offer up your anonymous negative judgments as to her mental state and whether he should be fed until natural death. He wasn’t born without a brain; he was born without most of his brain, and science as yet knows very little about the brain, less about consciousness, and absolutely nothing about what makes a person a person.

      Grammatically, you couldn’t even write in such a way that would support your implication that this boy was not a person, as you write, “‘he’ didn’t have a brain” (again, a false lazy headline oversimplification). He. Even your language betrays your awareness of the fact that the photograph of the boy above cannot be thought of in any other way than as a person. Whether his body was merely the illusion or empty shape of a person is unknown. What is certain is that those who fanatically choose to reduce the value of life in every questionable circumstance, or even in every circumstance, are not ethically healthy people. The compulsion for death is a sickness, a weakness on your part.

      • Saris

        You think you understand what is ethical, leveraging ancient emotional judgment systems that are common between humans and rats? (yup, they have much of the same emotions as humans – which should tell you just how advanced they really are)

        Emotions do not determine right and wrong, no matter how people feel about things. You don’t have to look far to see where emotional judgments, and what feels right to people, fail humanity. Humanity has not reached its current place, and that boy didn’t live as long as it did, because of feelings or religion. That body was kept alive by tech… And in twenty years there may be tech enough to keep something like that alive forever. That doesn’t make it not pointless.

        There wasn’t anything there worth saving except in the fantasies of the parents… Which I can’t quite say is sad. There’s no point in feeling emotions over what fools do to themselves.

  • BLB

    So wait…they had this kid hooked up to machines for twelve years, but they’re asking for money to help with funeral costs? Something about that doesn’t add up.

  • lobseattle

    Who would have anything negative to post on this article I really want to meet the people who have posted negative disrespectful comments none of you coward would have the balls to spew this shit to this poor child’s family I hope you pieces of shit can find another miserable cunt to fuck you and you have to someday make a unthinkable choice for your child

    • Cindy

      They are already crazy people so why bother telling them they should of aborted in the first place!! If they were smart they would of done it in the first place

    • Nila

      Love is unconditional but if I had known I would have an abortion With out a brain there is nothing! It is so stupid to think that any living mammal is any way functioning!

  • AkaiKoru

    I find it amazingly ironic that anyone would invoke god (little g) in this conversation. Do you seriously believe a god with unimaginable power, and unimaginable love put this poor women through hell, denied her a healthy child, denied this child a brain, and a normal life? Your god is not powerful, nor is he loving. Only a truly evil god would permit the unthinkable torment of this family. Some truly old testament level of cruelty.

    • Jay

      Absolutely. Some people here have the nerve to say “God has blessed his family”. Yeah right!! That’s insane talk right there. The poor kid was born without a brain… this is not the act of a loving god. How many millions of innocent human beings are suffering of starvation and disease at this very moment? If a god exists and is responsible for all this, then it is evil and anybody who praises it is evil. It takes religion to make good people do/think evil things.

      • Cindy

        Well said!!! That’s where I come from a 3rd world country & I was lucky to come to America and made my life now I am middle class and pay tons of taxes to keep these vegetables alive & see tons of them as a nurse and 100% Medicaid!

  • valerie drohan

    All children should be loved the way this child was loved. My heart goes out to these parents and my prayers will be for them and their loss .

  • stinky perfume

    what is interesting is that they put up “no known cure or treatment” and leave out what is the likely cause, highly likely almost certainly NUCLEAR RADIATION. Look up Chernobyl babies which is where most of the pictures they all had to sneak out over the years have the large heads. What is happening in Japan, Africa, and Fallujah, Iraq is more depleted uranium looking in the pictures they manage to get out. Many people accept the idea that a certain percentage of the population just has issues…and other’s thought for years that aliens were doing genetic work trying to mix themselves and failing at times. No…., it’s pretty much nuclear radiation doing all of this. If you want to see a lot of it look up “Chernobyl infant mutations”, “Depleted Uranium mutations”, “3 headed baby” on Images search.


      No. Low intake of folic acid before getting pregnant and in early pregnancy increases the risk of having a pregnancy affected by neural tube defects, including anencephaly.

      Source: CDC. Spina Bifida and Anencephaly Before and After Folic Acid Mandate — United States, 1995–1996 and 1999—2000. MMWR. May 7, 2004 / 53(17);362-365.

  • redman

    Wow what a waist of medical help and money here it is I can’t get help for my medical problems cause I’m poor but they can keep a brainless child alive for twelve yrs that child should have been put out of its misery

    • Saris

      There was no misery. Just a primitive sort of ability to run life support and maybe respond on some extremely primitive level. There is some learning responses that happens in the body too… Its really quite intriguing if the parents managed to teach it to show some responses that they could read emotions in (unless they were reading emotions where there really was nothing… a dead animal might still show some movement, and this was pretty close).

    • Cindy

      I completely agree!! And it comes from our middle class tax payer money!! Horrible to keep these vegetable people alive! They hurt and feel pain! I am a nurse and I take care of these kids and it breaks my heart seeing them suffer because of people selfishness that use machines to keep them alive!! Let them die peaceful without medical intervention! They go through so many surgeries and are full codes because the parents refuse to sign the DNR papers!! Horrible Medicaid system!

  • Yoko Kitozumi

    Not to be A Debbie downer, or Mean, But to those who say this baby was a waste of time and space, This babies life if looked on by Professionals could provide allot of Important scientific Information.

  • Saris

    This is one of those examples that makes you realize that advances in technology did not alter humanity itself… Although it did let some humans do some fairly inhuman things for the sake of their feelings. That and obviously these kinds of people aren’t really the kinds of people “usually” that develop the tech needed to be able to do these things.

    Its kinda sad. They took away what little dignity the boy might have had by turning him into a toy to feed their own feelings.

    • Cindy

      I agree that she should aborted! There are thousands of children in the world that need love and care and don’t have resources. Leave those critical resources for the healthy children that need them not the ones with a brain stem. I know because I come from a 3rd world country where a lot of children don’t go to school due to extreme poverty

  • Barbara - Ann Perry

    Looks like some people on here were born without a brain too. After reading some of the comments. Whatever reason, with whatever quality of life that child had. He lived and was loved. You don’t need a brain to feel a mother’s love. His heart was strong enough to sustain 12yrs. That was enough. Yeah, and some people here live without hearts too lol. Don’t judge others lives. Blessed be x


    I’m a parent of a child with profound disability. She was born normal and developed normally until 3 then went through a year of developmental regression losing every skill exempt the ability to walk with all vital systems in tact. She has never been hospitalized or placed on any life saving machines. This is completely SELFISH of the parents. Why anyone would take life saving measures to keep a child like this alive costing so many so much money and emotional trauma is beyond selfish and desperate. When a child is born without a brain he will not defy the odds and grow one at a later date. This is a nightmare to think anyone believes it is ethical to keep a human alive in this condition. The first time my daughter reaches the need for life support no matter how hard it is for me I will NEVER be so selfish to take extreme life saving measures to prolong the life she has. I only pray I outlive her so that I can protect her from being horribly abused in my absence. This story is NO MIRACLE! IT IS AN EXAMPLE OF DESPERATE HUMANS UNABLE TO PUT THEIR OWN SADNESS ABOVE WHAT IS BEST FOR ANOTHER HUMAN…PLAYING GOD. We can’t play God. This is horrible. Let me guess who has paid the hundreds and thousands of dollars in medical bills to keep this child alive for 12 yrs

  • Tanya

    The idea here is that soul can experience life in a human form. But this child’s soul never had that opportunity. Instead, he was living “in between” reality. Unconscious means coma and soul is not free to leave, but NOT in a body. So this soul was trapped here, nothing more. Perhaps, that is also an experience, but I doubt it. If not for modern technology he would die peacefully at birth. You do realize that to survive feeding tube was inserted, right? That is by no means “natural”. For stimuli responding, those are only basic reflexes and doctors didn’t do good job to explain the difference. It misled parents and those who read this article as well. Some reflexes may remain, but that is not responding to stimuli. Was it God’s will to keep someone in between worlds?! Perhaps it was Devil ‘s will, but not God’s! Self-proclaimed Christians, Devil is the real persona and he enjoys human suffering in all forms. He rejoins in bigotry and idolatry when people refuse to feel and think but rather attached to someone else’s words or book! I afraid that one universal religion prophets warned civilization about is perverted Christianity. It’s not about Jesus or God for them; it’s about dogmas and self-righteousness.

    • Lovely

      My God son has this condition. His mother was heart broken thinking that he would not survive but she decided it was not her decision to end his life. If God was to take her angel it would be when he was ready. The doctors told us he would be still born but he survived, they they gave him a few hours then days. He fells pain, he responds to his parents voice, he eats from a baby bottle and he is LOVED! After his 1st birthday the doctors stopped telling us he would not survive. Today he is 13 yrs old. Doctors call him a miracle baby. He even holds his own bottle now and boy can he throw that sucker! He is not on life support but will be on medication for the rest of his life. It was GOD’s will that this child survive and he is strong, beautiful and a very loved child and a part of a family who adore him.

    • Lovely

      My God son has this condition. His mother was heart broken thinking that he would not survive but she decided it was not her decision to end his life. If God was to take her angel it would be when he was ready. The doctors told us he would be still born but he survived, they they gave him a few hours then days. He fells pain, he responds to his parents voice, he eats from a baby bottle and he is LOVED! After his 1st birthday the doctors stopped telling us he would not survive. Today he is 13 yrs old. Doctors call him a miracle baby. He even holds his own bottle now and boy can he throw that sucker! He is not on life support but will be on medication for the rest of his life. It was GOD’s will that this child survive and he is strong, beautiful and a very loved child and a part of a family who adore him.

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