Donations accepted for girl undergoing brain surgery

By 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


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.