Konah Brown’s neck pain was getting worse. But doctors repeatedly told his mother, Shirley, there was nothing to worry about.
According to Kidspot, Shirley took Konah to a doctor and chiropractor, but was told her son’s pain was due to bad posture and too many video games.Screenshot/Today Tonight
Even when his symptoms got worse — the 13-year-old began suffering from intense headaches, slurred speech, and difficulty writing — doctors insisted the teen was fine. As Shirley told “Today Tonight,” it was frustrating:
“Doctors kept telling me, ‘Nothing wrong with him, nothing wrong with him.’ They were getting fed up with me going there.”
After a year of having her concerns dismissed, a routine trip to the dentist saved Konah’s life.
When Konah began complaining of a toothache, Shirley took him to Dr. Richard Brown. What she didn’t know was that the dentist had recently lost his infant son to a misdiagnosis and had promised himself he would be extra-vigilant in hopes of saving another family from the same grief.
Brown asked Konah to stick out his tongue and instantly realized that his young patient had a potentially fatal condition. He told “Today Tonight”:
“I just asked Konah to stick his tongue out and when he did, it went off to one side. When I saw that, I pretty much instantly thought he probably has a brain tumor, something pretty serious.”
The dentist told Shirley to take her son to the hospital immediately. When she did, doctors confirmed what the dentist suspected — Konah had a brain tumor the size of a fist.GoFundMe
Shirley later learned that if they hadn’t taken to Konah to the hospital when they did, her son may have died within weeks.
According to the family’s GoFundMe page, Konah has since undergone two operations to remove as much of the tumor as possible. Unfortunately, because the tumor is wrapped around the brain stem and spinal column, it is too dangerous to remove it entirely.
Konah’s family is now hoping that proton beam therapy can save the teen’s life. Though the procedure is not available in Australia, the government is paying for Konah to get treatment in Florida. The family is raising funds to pay for travel and any follow-up care Konah may need.
Brown said he’d been told as a student that a case like Konah’s might come along once in a lifetime. As the dentist told “Today Tonight,” since the death of his own son, he’d promised himself he’d be ready when that day came:
“Luckily for myself and for Konah, I was on the ball that day.”