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9-year-old Sarah Savell was diagnosed with a brain arteriovenous malformation and had to undergo brain surgery. Donations can be made to IBERIABANK. (Special to the American Press)

9-year-old Sarah Savell was diagnosed with a brain arteriovenous malformation and had to undergo brain surgery. Donations can be made to IBERIABANK. (Special to the American Press)

Donations accepted for girl undergoing brain surgery

Last Modified: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 9:42 AM

By Johnathan Manning / American Press

A month ago, 9-year-old Moss Bluff fourth-grader Sarah Savell left school complaining of a severe headache.

Since then, Savell has been in a medically induced coma in a Lafayette hospital as doctors work to correct a condition that she had from birth but only recently materialized.

Doctors diagnosed Savell with a brain arteriovenous malformation, family friend Bonnie Olander said.

Olander, speaking on behalf of the family, described Sarah as a quick-witted, independent, fun-loving older sister to two siblings.

“She’s a precious child,” Olander said.

A brain arteriovenous malformation “is an abnormal connection between arteries and veins” that typically dates to birth, according to information from the Mayo Clinic.

Doctors told Savell’s parents, Steven and Natalie, that the malformation was a result of Sarah’s premature birth, said Olander, who works with Natalie.

“You may not know you have a brain AVM until you experience symptoms, such as headaches or a seizure,” according to the Mayo Clinic.

That was true of Sarah’s case — she was not diagnosed until bleeding on the brain caused the severe headache, Olander said.

“This just suddenly happened,” Olander said. “This is simply her mother getting a phone call, ‘You need to come pick Sarah up, she has a bad headache.’ ”

When Natalie picked her daughter up from school, Sarah was screaming from the pain, so Natalie took her to the doctor’s office. Sarah was transported to a local hospital, then airlifted to a Lafayette hospital.

Doctors put Sarah in an induced coma to control the bleeding and her blood pressure, Olander said.

After three weeks, doctors made a decision to perform brain surgery to remove blood, she said.

Doctors are now trying to ween Sarah off the medication and the machines and bring her out of the coma, Olander said.

Because Sarah’s parents have not been able to work while in Lafayette caring for their daughter, a donation account has been created, Olander said.

“We’re just trying to do everything we can do to try to help the family to get her through this and get them through this,” Olander said.

• • •

The account number to make donations at IBERIABANK is 12102804739.

Posted By: hope sarahs best freind On: 10/17/2013

Title: hopemarx

I miss you im your best friend in 4th grade and all of us kee you in our prairse and in our thoughts

Posted By: Belinda Keith On: 10/15/2013

Title: ramona cavazzo

I am Sarah's Great Aunt and I will make sure her parents see this. Thank you so much for your prayers. I will be adding your grandson to my prayer list. God is GOOD!

Posted By: ramona cavazzo On: 10/15/2013


To this Angel's parents I will be sending prayers I know what you are going through my grandson was diagnosed with an AVM when he was 3.. he was cared for and it was monitored by Dr. Clarence Greene at Children's Hospital in New Orleans.. I highly reccomend him hr is in the top 5 neurosurgeons in the U.S. Last March our Dante went through a craniotomy to remove the AVM which was in his brain also he is now back to normal everyday activity and very healthy...I do hope you see this because I also want you to know that seizures are also a symptom of an AVM on the brain...Dante who is 7 also had open heart surgery when he was 6 had a seizure after the open heart when he was taken off the ventilator and meds that he was on to keep him sedated after the surgery...I wish you good luck and all the best to your little girl and your family.

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