Feature: Leamington Spa Hospital’s rehabilitation unit helped save teenager from a living nightmare

Chi Joyce after his time at the Central England Rehabillitation Unit.
Chi Joyce after his time at the Central England Rehabillitation Unit.
  • Kinny Cooper’s son Chi, 16, suffered a life-threatening brain injury at a music festival last year
  • Having spent days in a coma he was transferred to Leamington Spa Hospital’s Central England Rehabilitation Unit
  • At first he was unable to sit up and feed himself but, thanks to the help of staff at the unit, he has since made a remarkable recovery
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Doctors and other medical staff at Leamington Spa Hospital’s Central England Rehabilitation Unit have been thanked by the mother of a teenager who they helped recover from a life-threatening brain injury.

Devon resident Kinny Cooper and her son Chi Joyce were at the Shambala music festival in Northamptonshire to celebrate his good GCSE results last August when he fell down the steps of a fairground ride and hit his head, suffering a blood clot on the brain.

Chi Joyce after his accident at the Shambala festival.

Chi Joyce after his accident at the Shambala festival.

Chi was not with his mother when he had the fall and, unknown to her at the time, the 16-year-old was under the influence of drugs and alcohol he had bought at the event.

Kinny said what followed was a ‘nightmare’ situation for her son, who was taken by ambulance to University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire where he had a four-hour operation where he stayed in a critical condition for a further four days in a drug induced coma.

Two weeks later Chi, who was in a stable condition but unable to use his hands or legs, was transferred to the hospital in Heathcote Lane where his mother stayed by his bedside for three months.

She said: “At first he was completely paranoid and thinking everybody was trying to harm him.

Thanks to the amazing care that my son received at the Leamington spa rehabilitation centre he is back in the game, working, earning and well in his head and well in his body

Kinny Cooper

“He felt trapped in a bad dream where he just wanted to get up and everybody around him was stopping him doing that.”

“It was really, really, horrific for him and so difficult for me not being able to reassure him properly.

Kinny has thanked, in particular, Dr Abdul Rasheed and Mr Derar Badwan for their efforts in helping her son to recover.

Since the early days of his time at the hospital, where at first he was unable to sit up and feed himself, Chi has now made a remarkable recovery.

She said: “Chi was unable to walk, talk, eat and many more things as his memory was rubbed out. “We were all along made aware of the lengthy process and the low expectations we should have.

“But Thanks to the amazing care that my son received at the Leamington spa rehabilitation centre he is back in the game, working ,earning and well in his head and well in his body.

“I couldn’t be more proud of Chi in how he has recovered or more grateful of the care we received.”

Having contacted Shambala’s organisers in regard to her son’s accident, Kinny received an email in response from Shambala director and co-founder Chris Johnson.

He said: “Despite many of the medics at Shambala being experienced professionals - seeing all sorts of serious injuries and working together over the years for many years, we were all very upset by this incident, recognising at the time that is was very serious, that it was someone young, and not being legally privy to any feedback about his condition once he had left site other than that he was in intensive care.

“I want to reassure you that we genuinely deeply care about the wellbeing of our audience and take measures significantly beyond our legal duties in terms of welfare, stewarding, the medical services we provide on site, and the general care we take to manage the festival - it is why we exist, and the foundations of the festival - to create and take part in something meaningful and based on respect and an intrinsic care of one another.”

*The Central England Rehabilitation Unit (CERU) at Leamington Spa Hospital is a neurological rehabilitation unit that has been nationally recognised facility offering care from an experienced interdisciplinary team of clinical experts.

Its teams work closely with a patient’s friends and family to help when setting rehabilitation goals.

It also has have a support team to help make the process as easy as possible.

Sue Bleasdale, general manager said: “It is fantastic that Chi is now recovering independently at home. The transformation from when Chi was admitted to CERU to when he was discharged two months later is incredible. The dedication from his mother and the staff at CERU helped to make that possible. It is also thanks to the rapid and seamless transfer from University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW), as part of the major trauma pathway, that contributed to his recovery. Being able to provide patients, like Chi, with the specialist care they need in a timely manner in critical for ensuring the best possible outcomes.”