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Medical Diagnoses E-L

Hip dysplasia

This is an unsatisfactory term and indicates little more than a problem or suspected problem with a hip joint. Usually there is little information indicating the basis of the diagnosis or whether ultrasound or radiological tests have been performed. It refers to instability of the hip joint, but without elaboration it is difficult to determine whether the physicians meant instability (very common) or frank dislocation. Usually it is possible to conclude that the child had only a mild instability on the basis of the rather conservative treatments prescribed (i.e. massaging of the hip area).

Hyper-excitability syndrome

This is also called a syndrome of increased reflexes and is occasionally seen on medical reports. An exception is seen in the child with drug withdrawal due to maternal drug use. There is often the additional notation of abstinence syndrome.

Hypertensive-hydrocephalic syndrome, hypertensive syndrome, hydrocephalic syndrome

These are all the same and are commonly found. Often this can be seen when doing an ultrasound of the brain while looking for dilation of the ventricles (fluid-filled spaces in the brain) or changes in the blood flow pattern. It is considered in most children to be a transient condition secondary to the birth process. Treatment consists of certain vitamins, diuretics, and/or other drugs to improve blood flow to the brain. Surgical shunting is very rare. This is not true hydrocephalus, which is a serious disorder as understood by Western physicians.


This means short stature. Past the first year of life it is called alimentary nanism.


This means the child is small for his/her age. If used in the neonatal period it means small for gestational age (SGA). If applied to a child who is older, it is less specific and may refer to a child who is small due to under nourishment.

Hypoxia (hypoxy) of newborn

This is a lack of oxygen at or before delivery, usually diagnosed if it was a difficult pregnancy, labor or delivery. If baby needed resuscitation at birth when severe oxygen deprivation occurred, the diagnosis asphyxia is used.

Increased neuro-reflexive excitability syndrome

This sounds awful, but this is simply hyper-reflexes (and not a syndrome at all).

Intraventricular hemorrhage

This means a blood leak to the hollow space (ventricle) of the brain tissue. There are 4 degrees of this condition, with First and Second degrees being mild cases. If there is no indication of the severity of hemorrhage, we cannot determine the medical significance of this condition.

A lack of comments regarding maternal use of alcohol and drugs

This is common because orphanage records seldom contain this information. Prenatal records and hospital records are not transmitted to the orphanage in detail at the time the child is transferred to the orphanage. A similar problem exists when trying to obtain family history. The information is simply not available at the orphanage.

Mental development delay

This means cognitive and language functioning below age expectations. This condition is often found in children having a history of a neglectful family and/or a life in an orphanage. For an American ear “delays in mental development” usually sounds akin to “mental retardation”. In fact, it means temporal delays in social and cognitive skills usually expected from children of his age. This delay is mostly environmentally induced and can be educationally remedied/compensated for. We cannot, however, rule out a possible neurological basis for these delays.