A year or so ago our teenage son, Ben suddenly fell ill with a severe headache whilst out diving for crayfish with his dad. My husband realised it was quite serious when Ben was floating in and out of consciousness. He rushed him into land and carried him to the car and drove the short distance to the Geraldton Regional Hospital where they quickly intubated him and sent him off for a CT head scan which showed a left intracerebral haemorrhage. The outcome was not good. The neuro surgeon in Perth was sent his scan and he said there was nothing they could do for Ben. We were asked for his organs. We agreed (by no means was this an easy decision) but we realised that that is what he had previously requested if something ever happened to him. The doctors and nurses were outstanding that day at the hospital, under very difficult and heart wrenching circumstances. They cared for us in a very professional and compassionate way. The three doctor’s names were Ed, Barbara and Daniel. We know it was very tough for them as well. Eventually Ben and myself were flown to Perth on the RFDS for the donation, after tearful farewells from Ben’s best mates. Ben and I arrived at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital by ambulance in Perth and it was there that Ben was set up in ICU while we waited for family members to come and say their goodbyes. About 2 hours after arriving, Ben started responding to stimuli. The ICU nurse was checking him and he started moving his toes and fingers ever so slightly. To cut a very long story short, the neurosurgeon who initially checked out Ben’s scans was called to ICU and decided it was worth trying to save his life due to his responses. With our permission he was immediately operated on. They performed a craniotomy and evacuation of the clot, which was around a 7 hour surgery and then monitored his ICP levels. He survived. Ben was very, very sick for 2 and 1/2 weeks after that and was in ICU for that whole time. Every day was a battle for survival but he came through, awoke from the induced coma and was then transferred to HDU and eventually to the Fiona Stanley for rehab, he was in hospital in total for 4 and 1/2 months. Today he’s healthy. The last 18 months has sometimes been very tough on him with his recovery but he has come a long way and is now able to lead a normal healthy life. We, as a family are incredibly grateful to all the doctors and nurses and all the hospitals that took part in Ben’s survival and rehab. One thing our neuro surgeon did mention to us though, was that the Doctor in Geraldton ( I think it was Ed) who made the decision to elevate Ben’s head to 30 degrees and gave him mannitol, was a pivotal part in the next few hours of Ben’s life and death struggle. For that we are so incredibly thankful to Ed. We also want to acknowledge the amazing Team at DTU in Geraldton Regional Hospital. Once we were back from Perth, the team at DTU took Ben on and were outstanding with his rehab. Nothing was too hard for them and they worked so hard on him to get him to where he is at today. Calvin (speech) Prue (OT) and Kirra and Tessa (physio). Without these therapists, Ben would not be where he is today in his recovery. Thank you, Thank you all so much.. we have our precious healthy boy who has amazingly no brain damage and we are forever grateful.
"Our son survived thanks to the wonderful staff at Geraldton and Sir Charles Gairdner hospitals."
About: Fiona Stanley Hospital Fiona Stanley Hospital Murdoch 6150 Geraldton Hospital Geraldton Hospital Geraldton 6530 Royal Flying Doctor Service Royal Flying Doctor Service Barton 2600 Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital / Neurosurgical Unit Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital Neurosurgical Unit Nedlands 6009
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