A 13-year-old boy who suffered a stroke while playing in the sun with his friends has been left with 25% permanent brain damage.
Cain Griffiths was playing with his friends at Maerdy Reservoir in the Rhondda on July 16 when he suddenly collapsed with a stroke. Because of a series of problems, it took hours to get him the specialist help he needed.
The schoolboy has spent the last two months in hospital in Bristol, where his mother Gemma Caviell said he is making good but slow progress.
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"I stay in the hospital with Cian through the week and his dad drives back and for everyday to be with our other son too. He gets to go home on weekends now too which is good as its that little bit of normality for him.
"He loves being home, but it is hard. We took him to watch the boys play football and normally that would be him going, it is just stuff like that.
"He is walking a bit now, he still has limited movement in his arm but it is getting there, he still needs help doing things. But we could be here for months, as long as he is still making progress, no matter how slow, we will be here.
"His speech is coming along too but he has 25% permanent brain damage, he is never going to be back how he was but it is about getting to the best level that we can," Gemma said.
However, the mum of two has been left with questions about the care that Cain received that day, and believes a number of obstacles that could have been avoided resulted in Cain receiving the intervention treatment needed for a stroke seven hours after he first collapsed, instead of the recommended four hours.
"I have lots of questions about what happened that day. It took just under an hour before the ambulance got there.
"The young girl who made the call, two calls, she was telling them that he has had a stroke, and it took them just under an hour to get there.
"And of course when they got there they couldn't get to him because there were bollards in the way. My partner had to take the medical team up to him on the back of his quad bike. He was lying on the floor for an hour.
"Then they were radioing through to other paramedics, they couldn't treat him. They knew they couldn't get to him. Why didn't they dispatch an air ambulance?"
The bollards blocking the entrance to the reservoir have since been removed and Welsh Water, who are responsible for the site, have apologised to the family for the bollards blocking the entrance.
A spokesperson for Welsh Water said: "We can confirm that following liaison with the local police and local authority on measures we could take to improve security at the barrier, these measures are now in place and the boulders removed. Keys for the new barrier have also been provided to the emergency services should they requires access in future."
According to Gemma, it wasn't just the obstacles at the site of where Cain collapsed that caused a delay in his treatment.
"They took him to Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr and they weren't equipped to deal with him. they had to wait for a team to be sent from Bristol. Why didn't he go there in the first place? If there was an air ambulance they would have air lifted him to Bristol.
"From the time that he collapsed to the time he received the intervention, around seven hours had passed."
Treatment for a stroke is most effective if started as soon as possible, and the NHS recommend a four hour window. He had a stroke to the left side of his brain which has affected the right side of his body. The 13-year-old also has a blood clot in the middle cerebral artery of his brain.
Gemma believes that due to the delay in the ambulance team getting to the site, the disruption caused by the bollards and the wait for a team to get to Bristol.
"I just can't help but think that we wouldn't be in this predicament if things were not different on the day."
Cain was transferred to Bristol Royal Hospital for Children where he underwent surgery and he has remained there ever since as there are not the facilities in Wales for his rehab.
This is another challenge the family are facing, as Gemma and partner Neil Griffiths are both self employed so have lost all their income since the incident.
"If it wasn't for the community raising funds for us I don't know what we would have done," said Gemma.
To make a donation to support the family through this time, click here.
Geraint White, the Welsh Ambulance Service’s Interim Operations Manager in the Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board area, said: “We wish Cain all the best on his recovery and are sorry to hear about this frightening experience for both Cain and his family and friends. We sent our nearest available resources to Cain, although our crews did encounter an issue gaining access to the reservoir and enlisted the support of police colleagues and bystanders to help. We’re keen to understand more about the circumstances on the day and would invite Cain’s family to get in touch so that we can investigate this in more detail.”
A spokesperson for Cwm Taf Morgannwg Health Board said they are unable to comment on Cain's case at this time - and added that their sympathies are with him and the family.
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