Brady, 21, has defied doctors odds. He was diagnosed with autism at a young age, and his mother, Jerri Guzolik, moved with him to Florida, where she found the best treatment at the time. Brady was on the verge of coming home and being reunited with his family, for good, when tragedy struck on Christmas Eve.
“The doctors have never seen anything like this,” his grandmother, Linda Gereg said. After breakfast on December 24, Brady became unresponsive. He suffered a brain bleed, an injury consistent with severe head trauma, which was impossible, since he has someone who sits with him 24 hours a day.
The injury was so serious, doctors didn’t know if Brady was going to survive, his grandmother said.
After an emergency surgery, removing a portion of his skull, Brady spent eight days in the intensive care unit at Jackson Hospital in Miami, Florida. He acquired pneumonia, and battled a 105 degree temperature for days, which required a special blanket to keep him cool.
Then, things finally started to look up. The following Friday, January 2, Brady improved drastically. He sat up in bed, and appeared to be doing much better. He could use his right side to point to objects and grasp. His mother said only 40 percent of people who see an injury consistent with his return to base line function.
On Sunday, things took another turn for the worse, Brady became unresponsive again, suffering a second brain bleed in less than two weeks. After a second surgery, Brady slept for over 50 hours. His mother has been by his side, 24/7, in the hospital.
Jerri is recently married, she got to spend about a month with her husband and family at home in St. Clairsville before returning to Florida. The family is 1,200 miles apart, and it is taking a toll on everyone. “I’ve been living in a hospital, sleeping by his bed side, I don’t have any familiar support here, nobody to relieve me so I can sleep, or even being off this campus,” she said.
Her husband is working long shifts, caring for her nine-year-old son, in addition to his three school-aged children at home. Right now, the family is living on one income, and the air ambulance that would be required to transport Brady back home will cost between $16,000 and $25,000.
Jerri’s sister, Colleen, set up a Go Fund Me account, to help bring Brady home. Days later, it had already raised $4,000 of its goal. “People are responding. And I just wanted to help in any way I can and I thought that this would probably be the best way,” Colleen said. “Thank goodness the Ohio Valley has responded in this big way to help with this case,” Linda added.
When Brady flies to UPMC in Pittsburgh, he will face a long road to rehabilitation. Amazingly, his current scans are showing no brain damage.
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