Life-Saving Pediatric Neurosurgery
11-Year-Old Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital Patient Thriving After Emergency Brain Surgery
November 2007 — A post-Hurricane Wilma outing ended up an hour later with 11-year-old Nader near death at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital.
Just after power was restored to the family's Aventura apartment, Nader joined his brother Tarek, 14, and two friends for a round of golf in nearby Hallandale Beach. Lining up a shot, one of the boys called a warning to Nader, who squatted beside his golf bag to stay out of harm's way. The golf ball slammed into the back of his head.
Tarek remembers: "He didn't cry, but he kept saying, 'Ow, it hurts.'" Because Nader wasn't bleeding and said to keep going, the boys continued to play for another 15 minutes. Then Nader collapsed.
A Life-Changing Day
An adult golfer quickly loaded Nader into a cart and called 911. In the clubhouse, paramedics stabilized him before rushing him to Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital. A CAT scan revealed a large blood clot pressing on the right side of Nader's brain.
"I knew we had a very small window of time or he'd either never wake up again or would die," says Ian Heger, MD, Medical Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital and neurosurgeon on the medical staff at Memorial Regional Hospital, Memorial Regional Hospital South, Memorial Hospital West, Memorial Hospital Miramar and Memorial Hospital Pembroke.
After two hours of delicate surgery to remove the clot, Dr. Heger's outlook for Nader improved.
"Nader showed signs of major swelling before surgery because the pupil in his right eye was enlarged," he recalls. "At the end of surgery, however, the pupils were equal in size so I knew we had relieved the pressure in time."
After spending a week in a medically induced coma to allow his brain to heal, Nader was brought back to consciousness. By the end of the second week of his 22-day hospital stay, he was out of bed - a fact that still amazes Dr. Heger.
"To have someone come in with this type of injury and live is a major feat," he says. "But to have him up and walking around in two weeks is incredible."
Nader's mother Iman slept in her son's room throughout his stay. She was grateful to the staff who made her comfortable. "They're like my family, the nurses, the doctors, everyone," she says.
A Grateful Family
After surgery, Nader underwent intensive occupational, physical and speech therapy at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital/Memorial Regional Hospital Fitness Center. Today, he is a straight-A student who enjoys an active life.
For referral to a physician for your child, please call Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital Physician Referral Service toll-free at (866) JDCH-DOC. We're available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.