A SIX-YEAR-OLD boy is fighting for his life in a coma after a simple headache turned out to be a rare brain swelling disease.
Brave little Ellis Artist, from Halifax, started to feel poorly last week.
His aunt, Nicola Bicknell, 34, said that he had come home from school complaining of a headache, but that after being given some Calpol, was “fine and bouncing about”.
“Then he woke up in the middle of the night screaming that his head and neck hurt and he was vomiting because of the pain,” she said.
Mum-of-three Sarah didn’t send Ellis to school the next day and he was sent to say with his grandma, Kathryn.
He fell asleep and after struggling to wake him, Kathryn took him to the GP who suggested that he might have a virus and that he should be taken to hospital if he hadn’t shown any signs of improvement within the following six hours.
Two hours later, Kathryn rushed Ellis to the Bradford Royal Infirmary.
Nicola said: “They thought it might have been viral meningitis so he was admitted to the paediatric ward and was given antibiotics.
“He barely woke up and was crying and murmuring in his sleep. It was really frightening for everyone.
“He also developed a red rash on his body.”
Ellis was given a CT scan and lumbar puncture which came back as inconclusive.
The schoolboy was then sent for an MRI scan and two hours later, a doctor told the family that he needed to be taken to intensive care.
Nicola recalled: “They put him in a medically induced coma and transferred him to Leeds General Infirmary.
“He had another MRI scan on Monday where they discovered the swelling had spread from his brain down his spine.
“They don’t know what this could mean for him. They said they’ve seen people come in with this virus and go home okay but have also seen it cause disabilities.
“He was on a ventilator, however, is breathing on his own now but he’s been having these mini seizures which they think are being caused by the swelling.”
Ellis was eventually diagnosed with acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, a condition that can develop from a minor infection.
The immune system starts to activate immune cells to attack the healthy myelin covering the nerves…rather than genuine infection cells.
Ellis’ parents, Sarah and Paul, and siblings have been provided accommodation near the hospital by The Sick Children’s Trust, so they can be at the little boy’s bedside.
Aunt and mum-of-three Nicola said that Ellis’ parents are by his bedside “all the time”.
The doctors have been really good and are giving them as much information as they can.
“He could be in hospital for a very long time. We think it will be at least a couple of months.
“Ellis is an energetic, happy boy. He’s quite boisterous, he’s a normal six-year-old lad who loves Bradford City football club.
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“His brothers are aware of what’s going on but they don’t really understand. The youngest,Toby, thinks he’s in hospital because he’s banged his leg.
“He’s a tough cookie and we’re all just praying for some change.”
Friends and family have so far raised £3,500 for Ellis, while his school Clayton St John CE Primary School are also raising money for him.
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