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21st Dec 2018
A schoolboy who suffered a brain haemorrhage and underwent emergency surgery is preparing to spend Christmas at home.
Joey Tildesley-Devine, 10, had been dropped off by at school by his mum minutes before he collapsed.
Joey had complained of a strange taste in his mouth shortly before losing the ability to speak and movement in the right side of his body.
Mum Karen said: “I’d only dropped him off 10 minutes before and I’d not had any concerns.
“He presented as a stroke, he couldn’t speak and his right side wasn’t working.
“He was frightened and disorientated.”
Joey was rushed to Whiston Hospital where staff were waiting, they carried out an MRI scan and discovered a huge bleed to the brain.
He was vented and incubated and transferred to Alder Hey.
Karen said: “He was blue lighted straight to Alder Hey where they carried out further scans and discovered the AVM.
“It was a life and death situation and they needed to operate. We prepared for the worst.”
The Arteriovenous Malformation known as an AVM is a tangle of blood vessels in the brain, which bypasses normal brain tissue and directly diverts blood from the arteries to the veins.
The AVM had burst causing a large bleed to Joey’s brain.
Surgeons made an incision above Joey’s left ear towards the front of his head to drain the fluid from the brain and remove the clotting.
Once this stage of the operation was complete they set to work removing the AVM.
The surgery took more than seven hours.
Joey was then transferred to intensive care where he spent 36 hours in an induced coma.
Karen said: “It took him a little time to come around and when he did there wasn’t any verbalisation. He had no movement in his right hand side.
“We devised our own sign language so he could let us know if he was in pain or he needed to go to the toilet.”
Joey started an intense rehabilitation programme to learn how to talk and walk again just days after surgery. This has included physiotherapy, hydrotherapy and speech and language sessions as well as work with an occupational therapist to prepare the family for when he eventually returns home.
His amazing recovering has earned him the nickname ‘Joey the Legend’.
Karen said: “Joey has come on leaps and bounds.
“Last week he was able to sit in his wheelchair and go for lessons on the ward and this week he managed to walk for the first time.
“He was a little chatterbox and we’re going to get that back.”
She added: “We’ll be going home on Christmas Eve and coming back on Boxing Day.
“A few weeks ago we couldn’t imagine we’d be home for Christmas, everyone has been amazing.
“We’ve set a hospital bed up in the living room. We’ve got a dog who Joey has been missing and we’re just really looking forward to be being together as a family with his older brother and doing things that you would normally take for granted.”
Alder Hey Children's Charity