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Boy Told Mom His Head Hurt. Minutes Later, His Face Got Pale and the Left Side of His Mouth ‘Wouldn’t Move’

8-year-old’s ‘headache’ leads to stroke, emergency brain surgery

Just days before Christmas, 8-year-old Jamarion Bryant was present when his family found his grandfather dead from a heart attack. A few days later, the boy’s family found themselves in a frightening scare over his health.

Fox61 reports that on January 4, the Virginia boy came down with a headache.

Screenshot/YouCaring

But Jamarion’s mother, Tiffany Curry, described how quickly the simple headache spiraled into something much worse:

“He was like my head is hurting. We gave him ibuprofen and we went upstairs and not even four minutes after that he started screaming, screaming and crying, ‘mom help me, help me!’”

Curry said her son’s “[f]ace got real kind of pale and his mouth… the left side wouldn’t move.” She rushed him to the emergency room.

The third grader went through a 12-hour emergency brain surgery, during which doctors discovered bleeding and swelling in his brain.

Screenshot/YouCaring

The 8-year-old had suffered a stroke. Dr. Mark Marinello, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit Medical Director at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, said that “[i]t’s a life-threatening issue that many patients don’t survive.” Marinello explained:

“He had an arterial venous malformation, it’s a little different than an aneurysm but it’s an abnormal group of blood vessels that are weak and they broke, and when they broke he had a hemorrhage inside of his head”

The surgery saved the boy’s life. Doctors worked to prevent the brain bleed from happening again by resecting and removing all of the weakened blood vessels, Marinello told Fox61.

According to the Mayo Clinic, brain AVMs are rare and affect less than 1 percent of the population. An arteriovenous malformation can develop anywhere in the body, but most often forms in the brain or spine.

Symptoms to watch for include:

  • Seizures
  • Headache or pain in one area of the head
  • Muscle weakness or numbness in one part of the body

The Mayo Clinic reports that—depending on the location of the AVM—some people may experience more serious neurological signs and symptoms such as:

  • Severe headache
  • Weakness, numbness or paralysis
  • Vision loss
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Confusion or inability to understand others
  • Severe unsteadiness

While Jamarion is still experiencing weakness on his left side and unable to talk, Marinello called the boy’s prognosis “very good”:

“He did have a stroke, he will have some permanent effects from this, but because of his age he will likely regain a lot of the function he had before but a lot of that is still yet to be determined.”

The grateful mother continues to stay by her son’s bedside, and says she’s glad she followed her instincts to get him help:

“I think I have cried everyday all day. Just watching him struggle is hard. If I didn’t stay on top of him and watch him, he could have easily passed away in the bed.”

The boy’s stepfather, Lanard Ore, is looking forward to seeing his stepson’s personality shine once again:

“I just want him to have his full personality back and make sure he doesn’t lose that at all,” While Curry wants “the happy, running around crazy kid.”

Two weeks after the surgery, the boy continues to recover in the pediatric intensive care unit and will begin rehabilitation after he’s discharged.

A YouCaring page has been established to help Jamarion’s mother, the sole breadwinner in the home, pay for his medical bills.

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