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Brain bleed
Tanner Morris

One mistake can sometimes lead to an unexpected, serious accident. Twelve-year-old Tanner Morris was out one evening riding bikes with friends, just like he would any other typical night, but this time Tanner wasn’t wearing a helmet. “He came inside crying, saying he had a wreck and hurt his elbow and his head,” said Tanner’s mom, Tara. “He was acting a little different and just a few minutes later he started vomiting.”

Tara and her husband, John, rushed Tanner to their local emergency room in Prattville, where an MRI revealed he had a brain bleed and might need surgery. “They told us we had a choice. We could either go to a closer hospital in Montgomery or to Children’s of Alabama,” Tara said. “We said without a doubt we want to go to Children’s.”

With no time to spare, Children’s sent its Critical Care Transport Team to transport Tanner by helicopter to Birmingham. “Before we knew it, the flight nurses were coming in to get him,” Tara said. “They were very friendly and made sure we knew exactly what was going on. There wasn’t enough room on the helicopter for one of us to go with him and the lead flight nurse reassured us that he was going to be OK and she would call me as soon as they landed.”

While on the road to Birmingham, Tara and John got word that Tanner had arrived at Children’s and was alert and doing well, even while intubated. “[The flight nurse] also let us know there was an operating room waiting on Tanner and that she was handing him off to the neurosurgeon,” Tara said. “Just about 15 minutes later, the neurosurgeon, Dr. Jeffrey Blount, called to let us know they were getting ready to start the surgery to drain the bleed. It meant a lot that he personally made sure we were informed and knew exactly what was going on.”

Following the surgery, Dr. Blount met with Tara and John and informed them Tanner’s surgery went well. Dr. Blount drained the blood from Tanner’s brain, and Tanner had no fractures or other problems. “Tanner was so lucky because it could have been so much worse,” Tara said. “They told us he would need to stay at the hospital for three or four days, but Tanner was doing so well he got to go home after just two days.”

Other than a horseshoe-shaped incision scar, there’s no lingering sign of Tanner’s accident except now he’s always sure to wear his helmet when riding his bike. “We couldn’t have had a better experience anywhere else,” Tara said. “From the flight crew to the help desk to the doctors and nurses, everyone was amazing. They were patient, never acting like we were in the way or taking up too much of their time. They really cared for Tanner and for us. We came there with nothing—no extra clothes or even a toothbrush—and the ICU nurse made sure we had everything we needed. We are so thankful for everyone at Children’s.”
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