Mother's gut feeling saves son's life

Mother's gut feeling saves son's life
Published: Aug. 29, 2013 at 11:14 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 29, 2013 at 11:36 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Parents if you think something is not quite right with your child get it checked out.

That message is from an East Cooper family. They faced a frightening diagnosis for their son who was only 11 at the time.

The family was told that a positive outcome would depend on the skill Of a surgeon.

John Miavez was in the Cleveland Clinic recovering from brain surgery. What led to his diagnosis was a gut feeling. John's mom sensed something was wrong.

"Something just wasn't right and it didn't set right with me," said Dr. Julie Long Miavez.

John's mom, a Navy optometrist, checked her son's eyes and found something abnormal, so she immediately requested more tests.

"He was an active child before and he turned into somebody who couldn't get through the day without sleeping hard for numerous hours," Miavez said.

Turns out, John would need very delicate brain surgery. He had an aneurysm, rare in children.

An aneurysm is a weak, bulging spot on an artery. Like a bubble on an inner tube, it can lead to bleeding in the brain. John's surgeon, Dr. Mark Bain would spend five hours creating a bypass restoring the blood flow, then removing the aneurysm.

"When he actually got inside John's head he found the aneurysm was a bubble on a bubble," said John's father Dave Miavez."So it as much more dangerous than he previously thought for John."

"When we were doing the work up for the aneurysm we actually found another problem," Dr. Bain said."That he had a blocked blood vessel on the brain on the opposite side."

That means there's a risk John could have a stroke. John will go back for follow-up exams every couple of  years. His aneurysm, though, is cured.  

"we're gonna basically let him go and be a normal kid," said Dr. Bain.

It turns out John's eye and energy issues were not related, but they led to the discovery of his extremely rare conditions. With her persistence, John's mom saved her son's life.

Forty percent of aneurysms in children are fatal when they rupture. Of those who survive, 66 percent result in permanent disability.

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