North Berwick youngster Josh Pollard, 9, left paralysed for months after vessels in brain 'exploded'

Youngster left paralysed for months after brain clot exploded on day out

A nine-year-old boy came close to death after a clot in his brain ‘exploded’ during a pumpkin picking trip and left him paralysed for months.

Josh Pollard, from North Berwick, fell ill while out with his family in October last year. His mum Jayne called an ambulance but while they were waiting for paramedics to arrive, the youngster’s condition declined rapidly and he became unresponsive.

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He was blue-lighted to Edinburgh Children’s Hospital, where paramedics told Jayne that, had it not been for her quick thinking, her son may not have made it. Doctors had discovered an arterial venous malformation in Josh’s brain, which meant a cluster of veins were not regulating pressure correctly.

Josh, 9, was in hospital for months

Josh’s dad Ben said: “The doctors later told us they’d likely been swelling for up to a year – and had eventually exploded. This formed a clot on the left-hand side of his brain, which paralysed the entire right side of his body. He couldn’t walk or talk – he was essentially a new-born at nine years old. As we waited in hospital, we were told he would have to be operated on immediately.”

Josh spent four days in intensive care and had another operation three weeks later. After their second night, the family was offered a room at Ronald McDonald House Edinburgh. He got through his second surgery but the operation left him unable to walk or talk for the first few weeks. Then it was a tough road to recovery with daily occupational therapy and physiotherapy for four months in hospital.

But by Christmas time, he was doing much better and was able to get weekend passes for the house, where he could spend quality time with his parents and siblings in a ‘home away from home’. Ben said he was “taken aback” by the amazing support the family received from the charity and said it was hard to leave behind the staff and other families who they got to know during their time at the house.

Josh and his family have inspired friends and relatives to raise cash for the charity as a way of giving thanks to Ronald McDonald House Charities UK. Jayne’s friend Gareth and her brother, Michael, ran a website offering competition prizes to raise funds, and Gareth did the Three Peaks Challenge. They raised £900 – enough to keep the house running for a day.

Helen Zollinger, community fundraiser for Scotland at Ronald McDonald House Charities UK, said: “We are so pleased to have been able to support Ben, Jayne and their children when Josh was having treatment in hospital and are delighted to hear that he is going from strength to strength on his long road to recovery. It’s great that the family has stayed in touch with us and other families they met in the House – it’s testament to how important the peer support we provide can be.”