On the 16 November 2018, 10-year-old Joey was at school when he noticed a "strange taste in his mouth". When he went to have a drink of water, Joey discovered he had lost the ability to talk and use his right arm. It was immediately apparent to teachers that something was very wrong.
In fact, Joey had a life-threatening brain haemorrhage caused by a ruptured Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM). 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. It’s thought to occur in less than one percent of the population.
When his mum, Karen, went to find him after being notified by school staff, Joey had also lost the use of his right leg. He had only been in school for 15 minutes. Karen says: “I was in utter shock and couldn’t believe what was happening. When I dropped Joey off at school he was his usual self. It was just a normal day which had quickly turned into my worst nightmare”.
Joey was rushed straight to Whiston Hospital by Karen and his father, Nick, who drove to school as soon as he heard what had happened. On the way, Joey suffered a seizure and lost consciousness. Karen, who is medically trained as a midwife, carried out CPR until they arrived at the hospital.
Karen adds: “When they told me Joey might not make it, it was like I was experiencing an out of body experience. I remember movement going on around me but I wasn’t taking anything in.”