11-year-old girl suffers brain aneurysm, undergoes surgery; parents call for brain screenings in children

The family of a Texas girl who suffered a brain aneurysm is hoping to spare other families from the struggle they went through. 11-year-old Evie Williams survived brain surgery and now her parents are calling for brain screenings in children to help detect problems earlier. 

For 10 years Evie was a dancing, singing, writing, and caring little girl. Last May, she complained of a headache and things went downhill quickly.

"From a headache, to not being able to walk, to being unconscious and meeting the ambulance, and going to the emergency room," her mother Irene Williams said.

Doctors told her parents Evie suffered from a brain aneurysm and AVM, a tangle of blood vessels that connects arteries and veins in the brain. She underwent six hours of brain surgery to stop the bleeding. She was in a coma for about four weeks, but she survived.

"She still had activity in her brain from the EEG, so we knew she wasn’t brain-dead, and we just wanted to continue care," Irene Williams said.

Evie started her rehab in Lubbock, but has since come to Austin. "They have some innovative technology that they can use to help communicate with her so that’s a really good thing," Irene Williams said.

The Williamses says they’ve been fighting with insurance for about six months trying to continue in-patient care.

"I think the struggle is you can’t justify a patient by what’s written on paper, you really have to see the patient and talk to the physician," Irene Williams said. "We prefer in-patient rehab because it’s more intensive for her and she will hopefully recover."

Irene Williams says she never would have thought something like this would happen to her daughter. "That’s the hard part is wishing, and praying, and hoping that she’ll be normal again," she said.

She says she hopes Evie’s story will encourage others to get brain screenings. "We have screenings for mammograms, we have screenings for hearing, why not some type of brain scan just to kind of see if someone’s complaining of headaches, it’s a common symptom, but it’s something you can’t ignore," Irene Williams said.

Evie is now an author. The stories Evie used to write have been turned into a book and the proceeds help pay for her medical bills. Evie’s father says she will recover and write even more it may just take some time.

"Physicians and doctors and surgeons may write them off, but they will heal in time given the correct rehab and nutrition and motivation, and that’s what I want everyone to know. These people will heal, don’t give up on them," Toby Williams said.