BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Did you know children, even babies, can have strokes? It happens. More than you may realize.
Denise Koch met one Baltimore family that found out in the worst way possible.
The Wolcotts were on vacation at Disney World almost a year ago when suddenly one of their 16-month-old twins, Brooke, could no longer move her left side.
“It was terrifying… it was one of those things that never crossed your mind,” says her mother, Nikki Wolcott.
Nor would it cross many parents’ minds.
There are risk factors, including heart problems, diseases causing clotting, sickle cell anemia.
“In Brooklyn’s case, we don’t have an exact diagnosis for why it happened,” says her doctor, Dr. Frank Pidcock.
It’s possible, he says, for parents to have no idea that their child is at risk.
“Which is why it’s important to recognize early on the symptoms of a stroke,” he says.
The symptoms can be the same in children as adults. Think “FAST.”
F – facial drooping
A – arm weakness
S – speech difficulty
T – time (time to call 911)
You have three hours to get treatment for the best results. True for adults, true for children.
At Kennedy Krieger Institute, Brooke is working to strengthen her left leg, open her left hand and develop speech. It helps to have a twin to keep up with.
As for the future, “we don’t know,” her mother says. “We don’t know whether this can happen again and unfortunately that’s something that’s very scary for us as parents.”
For more information on pediatric stroke, there’s a support group called PediatricStrokeWarriors.org where you can get answers.