She is 11 years old, and lives with her mom, dad, little sister and dog – Oreo – in Rothesay, NB.
Bronwyn loves playing outside in the yard with her family. For the last four years, time spent playing with her family has felt extra special.
On September 15, 2009 – when Bronwyn was seven years old – her father was pulling her in a wagon when she fell out and hit her head. Moments after the fall, Bronwyn didn’t seem herself, so her parents rushed her to the ER. As it turned out, a part of her brain had ruptured, causing a life-threatening hemorrhage.
“She lost consciousness on the way to the hospital and she was throwing up, so we knew something was very wrong,” said her mom, Kristin.
That night, Bronwyn had emergency brain surgery. And the next day, neurologists used MRI technology to scan her brain, verifying that they had effectively dealt with the hemorrhage. Bronwyn would stay in hospital for more than a week, before completing her recovery at home.
“I knew one of the ER doctors, and he said that if we didn’t have access to the right technology at that moment, she wouldn’t have lived,” Kristin said. “You just don’t think about access to the right healthcare until you need it. You just assume every hospital is going to have what you need, but they don’t.”
For Bronwyn, the accident has changed the way she feels about everyday life at home.
“I didn’t always like spending time with my sister, but now I always like being with her. We go outside and build sled trails in the snow in the winter, or we’ll build forts in the basement or play video games,” Bronwyn said. “Sometimes if I’m really mad at my sister, I picture not being able to be with her and it makes me feel sad and alone.”
“It brings everything into perspective,” Kristin said. “She doesn’t like being separated from us at all.”
While Bronwyn’s experience was a scary one, it had a happy ending. She was able to receive the right type of brain scans and surgery, when she needed it.
At the Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation, we’re fundraising to bring the first hospital-based 3T MRI scanner to Atlantic Canada. In addition to doubling the capacity of the suite, it will allow us to capture images of patients like Bronwyn at a much higher level of detail, leading to enhanced patient comfort, more accurate diagnoses and more effective treatment programs.
MRI scans will continue to ensure that Bronwyn recovers completely from her brain hemorrhage. The more timely and accurate these scans are, the less time Bronwyn will spend inside the hospital’s walls, and the more time she’ll spend outside, playing in the yard with her family.