Davidson Jump has always been a calm kid, according to his mother, Brett. So when the then 14-year-old suddenly went blind during English class in March of 2018, he didn’t panic. Instead, he asked a friend sitting nearby to walk him to the nurse’s office. He told the nurse he didn’t feel well and then had a grand mal seizure.…
Ed. note: This is an updated version of a post that originally appeared in January.
Bryan Thomas doesn’t remember what happened at the eighth-grade graduation party in June, the night he almost lost his life. He knows only what he’s been told.
He was celebrating at a sleepover that Saturday night when he leaned over to his friend and said, “I have a headache.”
“My friend asked if I wanted an Advil, but I said I would tough it out,” Bryan says.
Two or three minutes later, he told his friend the headache was getting worse. He took three ibuprofen, but soon sat down and said, “I can’t go on.” He began rocking back and forth, saying how scared he was.
Then he threw up and passed out. …
“I heard a noise and went in and saw him in a full-blown tonic-clonic seizure,” says his mother, Amy. Paramedics brought him to the hospital. Any further seizures could mean trouble, they told the Stedmans. “They said, basically, ‘you’re allowed one seizure in your life,’” Amy recalls.
A few months later, on an August evening around 10 p.m., Adam spoke with his girlfriend on the phone. She later told Amy, “Go check on him—he sounds kind of out of it.” That turned out to be a second seizure.
The third seizure, the worst yet, happened on Nov. 11. Adam had the day off from school, and his girlfriend was visiting. The family was eating dinner when the seizure started. It lasted nearly five minutes, and Adam was turning blue. Another seizure followed within weeks. The local hospital in Connecticut did an MRI, and the Stedmans received a call: “Can you come in before the office opens?”
Adam had an arteriovenous malformation, or AVM, a tangle of abnormally connected arteries and veins. Through a recommendation, the Stedmans met five days later with Dr. Edward Smith, a neurosurgeon in Boston Children’s Hospital’s Cerebrovascular Surgery and Interventions Center.
Because the AVM was in the visual processing area of his brain, Adam faced a risk of serious vision loss if the AVM wasn’t removed soon. It could bleed or burst at any time.
Yousef Alrkhayes was just two days old when a doctor burst into his mother’s, Khadjad’s, hospital room with unsettling news. “[He] came into my room and said that Yousef has high pressure in his heart and they didn’t know why,” she recalls. After you are discharged, the doctor continued, don’t even go home—go straight to the main hospital.
In the four days it took Khadjah to recover enough to move with her son, Yousef made little progress. His heart was still under stress and no one could say why. As their doctor sent them on their way, he begged them to ask for an echocardiogram at the hospital.
Khadjah could tell from the sound of his voice that he was worried. …