August 22, 2016
Daniel and Carolyn Abbott have five children, Jayden (8), Arianna (5), Hardison (3), Bennett (6 months), and one baby they lost during the pregnancy. An active duty airman, Daniel has deployed with the Air Force four times in 8 years, and, like most military members, has been gone on training more times than he can count.
The Abbott’s youngest son, Bennett, suffers from brachycephaly, a deformative condition that is the result of a premature fusion of the coronal sutures or from plagiocephaly. The coronal suture is the fibrous joint that connects the front bone of the skull to the two parietal bones. The parietal bones are the bones that form the top and sides of the skull. Simply put, the condition is the result of parts of the skull bonding together before they should. Brachycephaly is often found in people with Downs Syndrome.
Fortunately for Bennett, this is a condition that is easily treatable. Unfortunately for the Abbotts, their military health care plan does not cover the treatment as they consider it to be a purely aesthetic issue, neglecting to acknowledge that there isn’t enough information available to determine the long term risks of leaving brachycephaly untreated.
Currently, the best treatment option for Bennett is a cranial helmet. Because they Abbott’s have already tried the previous recommendations from their doctors (i.e. switching the Bennett’s routine to spend far less time on his back) and had no success, and because TriCare will not treat brachycephaly until Bennett is MUCH older (and that treatment is a somewhat generally unsuccessful surgery, if they determine at that time that he even qualifies for it), Bennett’s best hope of receiving treatment is receiving a helmet from the Military Health Project.