Hugo’s Story

23 Sep 2020

Seven-year-old Hugo was at school participating in a walkathon when all of a sudden he fell down to the ground and suffered a seizure.

“There were no warning signs. He was so happy and excited that day and one of the teachers told me that just minutes earlier, Hugo was giggling and smiling with his friends,” said Gosia.

Hugo was rushed from school by ambulance to The Children’s Hospital at Westmead and during an MRI, it was confirmed a clot had lodged in his brain where the cells had been starved of oxygen, causing Hugo to have a stroke. The stroke occurred in the left side of his brain and would affect his right-side movement and speech.

“When he [the neurologist] said that I felt an invisible hand wrap around my throat and squeeze. I didn’t think it was even a possibility. Just like in the movies, the room suddenly went blurry and I had to snap myself out of it as I needed to understand what he was saying,” said Gosia.

Gosia’s husband, Luke, was in Singapore for work at the time and Gosia had to make the terrifying call to her husband. Thankfully, Luke was able to book a flight and get to the hospital 24 hours later to be with her and Hugo.

After three-and-a-half days in PICU, Hugo woke up from his induced coma but he was unable to walk or talk. Over the next eight weeks in hospital, Hugo endured intensive physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy to learn to walk and talk again.

“My husband and I alternated who stayed beside Hugo’s bed and who went home to spend the night with Nixon, our other eight-year-old son. It was tough on Nixon too. He was upset and struggling to understand why his brother suddenly couldn’t walk, talk or play with him,” said Gosia.

Hugo is still on his recovery journey and has weekly visits to the hospital but is making strides in his progress including being able to walk and talk again. The traumatic experience for the family was made a little easier by the support they received from Hugo’s clinical team.

“We could tell that we were in the best hands at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead. We never knew a child could have a stroke – none of our friends and families did – but you could tell the doctors, nurses and therapists were the best in their field”

“The hospital is our second home. I am forever grateful for the many hours of therapy every week for a whole year they dedicated to helping him walk, talk and function again”.

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