Walking into the Emergency Department at the Perth Children’s Hospital with their sick two-year-old daughter Amelia, Brianna and Russell felt…
Nine year old Dean was driving with his family to Esperance for a holiday in April 2012 when a horrific caravan accident changed their lives forever.
Dean, who was only six at the time, received the most life-threatening and serious injuries and after an agonising 45 minute wait for the first paramedics to arrive, Dean, his twin brother Leo and sister Erin were all flown to Princess Margaret Hospital.
Out of everyone, Dean suffered most severely with a traumatic brain injury, two punctured lungs, six broken ribs, a bruised pancreas and a lacerated liver. Dean spent just nearly three weeks in a medically induced coma in Princess Margaret Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit fighting for his life.
“Throughout those three weeks, it was very touch and go, we weren’t sure if he was going to make it, but against all odds Dean became stable again”, explains Nicole, Dean’s mum.
For the next three months Dean underwent an intensive rehabilitation program with the Acquired Brain Injury team at Princess Margaret Hospital where he had to relearn how to do everything from walking to talking and eating.
Being from the country, Dean’s treatment meant the young family of five had to relocate to Perth for over three months. With Erin also requiring a two-week stay on Princess Margaret Hospital’s Surgical Unit and dad Jarrod needing care at Royal Perth Hospital, the family had enough stress to handle without having to worry about financial costs as well.
“Thankfully, throughout this time we were able to access PMH Foundation’s Regional Assistance Fund which meant we could stay at a unit in Daglish where the kids had room to play and we were close to Princess Margaret Hospital,” Nicole explains.
“Having that financial support while being away from home during such a traumatic time was a real lifesaver.”
Unfortunately, in June 2013 Dean was re-admitted to Princess Margaret Hospital and diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and epilepsy, meaning he now has to undergo regular insulin injections and finger pricks on top of ongoing rehabilitation visits for his acquired brain injury.
“Despite all these new medical issues and the regular trips up to Princess Margaret Hospital, Dean never complains. He is always so happy and charms everyone he meets.”
“I would like to thank the entire team at Princess Margaret Hospital who have supported us so much throughout this whole journey. I also want to thank PMH Foundation and their wonderful donors who help families like ours through initiatives such as the Regional Assistance Fund,” explains Nicole.
“Dean is our little miracle; he is a true “Aussie battler” who makes every rough day worth it with his hugs and gorgeous smile. He lights up our world and the lives of all those who are fortunate enough to meet him.”