Lydia McConnell couldn’t believe what she was hearing. Her 13-year-old son Owen had been experiencing frequent bouts of nausea and vomiting that required several visits to urgent care and their pediatrician. But during this visit to the ER in January, her whole world stopped when the doctor said two words: brain tumor.
“It seemed unreal,” she recalled.”We went from thinking Owen had a gastrointestinal issue to finding out the reason he was vomiting was life-threatening.”
Owen’s symptoms were caused by a tumor at the base of his skull and he needed to undergo brain surgery. McConnell was given the choice to go to a hospital five hours away from home or to Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Ascension Sacred Heart ‒ the only hospital that has a pediatric neurosurgeon who lives and works on the Gulf Coast.
McConnell decided to stay close to home. Dr. Augustus Perez, pediatric neurosurgeon at Children’s Hospital, performed surgery on Owen on January 14. Thirteen hours later, Dr. Perez gave the McConnells the good news: He had completely resected Owen’s tumor.
“It was a blessing to receive care locally,” she said. “When you go through something like this, it’s mentally exhausting. The last thing you need is to be away from home, too.”
McConnell said Owen has a great prognosis. He started focused radiation therapy to reduce the chance of tumor recurrence.
“From a bad situation, we’ve been fortunate that Owen has experienced the best case scenario,” she said. “We are so grateful for the care he received at Children’s.”