Health Watch: Child's Brain: What's Hiding in it?

ORLANDO, Fla. (KFSN) -- It's not common, but it is often deadly. When tangled blood vessels in a child's brain rupture and cause a stroke, time is of the essence. We talk to one little boy whose survival is a miracle.

One year ago, the Christie family gathered around the dinner table when ten-year-old Neal started acting strangely.

"Neal goes 'Mom, I don't want to eat, I don't feel good,'" said Amish Christie, Neal's Father.

"Now it's slurred speech is kicking in, we can't figure out what he's saying but he kept on saying 'I'm numb, I'm numb,'" Neal's Mother, Twinkal Christie shared.

They couldn't believe what the 9-1-1 operator was telling them.

"She said to us that your son is having a stroke," continued Twinkal.

Neal had an AV Fistula similar to AVM but without the tangle of abnormal blood vessels connecting arteries and veins in the brain.

Christopher Gegg, MD, Pediatric Neurosurgery, Nemours Children's Hospital said, "We were able to stabilize Neal and get him to the operating room quickly, to do a craniotomy, evacuate hemorrhage, and stop the bleeding."

After being kept in a coma, ten days in the ICU, and rehab, Neal was finally sent home after two months and two surgeries.

"I don't need any more canes, I don't need any assistance with walking, so that's one thing that's already improved. Another thing is putting on my brace by myself," stated Neal.

Neal has even learned to play video games one-handed with his older sister and is improving every day.

Dr. Gegg wants other parents to know the symptoms to watch for: sudden headaches, numbness, vision loss, or slurred speech. Neal's mom urges parents to ...

"To ask further questions, to asses, do they need to be seen by a doctor," said Twinkal.

Neal's mom says he should regain 80 percent of his normal functioning with continued physical therapy. Dr. Gegg says if kids show any signs of a stroke, it is imperative to seek immediate medical attention.
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