From Grand Mal Seizures to Graduating Medical School and Beyond
Danuel Snelgrove was struggling during his junior year of high school. The epileptic seizures that had begun when he was 12 were getting increasingly violent and frequent, forcing the South Carolina teen to leave school in the spring of 2003.
Talk about a turnaround: In 2015, Danuel was seizure free and a medical school graduate pursuing a residency in neurology at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, a transformation made possible by a 2003 surgery at the Brain Institute at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.
Like so many who come to the internationally renowned Brain Institute in search of hope for children with medically resistant epilepsy, Danuel’s family had spent years pursuing treatment in their home state. Doctors in South Carolina had attempted first one anticonvulsant drug and then another, but each time Danuel’s seizures would eventually resume.
A Brain Institute medical team led by neurologist Dr. Michael Duchowny and neurosurgeon Dr. Glenn Morrison determined that brain surgery could offer Danuel a brighter future. An imaging study pinpointed a previously undetected area of malfunctioning tissue in his parietal lobe. Following brain-mapping surgeries to ensure that removing the problem tissue would not disrupt critical brain functions, Danuel was cleared for surgery to remove the lesion in August of 2003. Today he remains seizure free.
Without seizures or antiepileptic medications, Danuel began to fulfill his academic promise. “I was an average student in high school,” he recalls. “But soon complex ideas became more clear,” leading to his success in college and acceptance to medical school at the University of South Carolina.
Today, Danuel – Dr. Snelgrove – looks forward to giving back through a career as a neurologist. “I can certainly relate to patients with neurological challenges and hope that this will serve me well in practice,” he said.