Olivia Cossey from Barbados

Anyone who’s had the privilege of spending time with Olivia would agree that she’s a truly beautiful person, both on the inside and out, constantly willing to selflessly give of her time to help those around her. Olivia always places a joyful emphasis on the importance of family, friends, loyalty and togetherness. Along with her family and friends, I, her fiancée Nick (we happily got engaged in February this year), love and cherish her more than simple words could ever describe.

Olivia’s past in the recent years has not always been an easy one health wise. She is just 26 years old and suffers from an undiagnosed disorder with two previous strokes, one of which forced her into an emergency craniotomy to remove a clot from her brain three years ago. Luckily, she was able to beat the odds in both incidents and fight back to us. From then, she has been living on a regimen of blood thinners with the aim of preventing further clotting. Hematology, homeopathy, neurological tests and more, nothing could seem to fully pin point her condition.

On Saturday 18th August our world would be drastically turned upside down, this time much worse than before. Olivia woke next to me at about 4:00am with a terrible pain in her neck. We decided to make our way to Sandy Crest to see the doctor and request an CT scan, fearful of her past but hopeful. Within minutes of reaching the Medical Centre and laying down to see the doctor, the pain became excruciating throughout her head and she lay there screaming for medication to ease the agony. Her last words to me were, “I can’t do this again… You all look upside down.

Once sedated on Morphine, she went in for her CT scan. We then wheeled her from the scan back to her bed where we were to wait for the results. While there, her breathing became shallow to the point that I became very concerned. I called over the Doctor and from there everything seemed to snowball – she was experiencing respiratory arrest. As the staff moved her and started the process of intubation, the scan results came in, confirming our worst fears – there was another clot and bleed on the brain, showing elements of fluid by her brain stem causing dangerous pressure. The prognosis at this point was bleak.

The ambulance arrived and raced Olivia from Sandy Crest to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Here, they tried to source the reversal of the blood thinners she was on (Xarelto) before operating as there was a very real possibility of her bleeding out and passing on during the operation. Unfortunately, this reversal medication is not available in Barbados, or the Caribbean, and the decision had to be made to act swiftly, always seeming to be placed between a rock and a hard place. We weren’t given much hope but were assured she would be given the very best chance possible.

Amazingly, thanks to the talented Dr. Smith and his team, Olivia survived her first surgery where they would ease the pressure and remove clotting. The following day, Olivia had to undergo another procedure to place a shunt in her head to ease fluid and any additional remnants of bleeding on her brain. Since then, the shunt has been removed and her Neurology team is pleased with the pressure in her head and sterility of her brain.

Fast forward from 18th August 2018, through many weeks of worry, hope and prayers to today. Olivia remains in the Surgery Intensive Care Unit at QEH, on a ventilator that breathes for her, technically still in a coma with minimal movement, her eyes opening and tracking up and down. An EEG test revealed good activity within her brain (cortex) with some damaged areas (due to hypoxia – lack of oxygen to those areas) and she is on medication to try to kick-start the Reticular Activating System (RAS) of her brain (this deals with arousal and sleep/wake cycles). Any and all improvements, no matter how small they may seem, to us are massive and amazing milestones.

As in any ICU setting, with numerous foreign ports of entry into the body, she battles infections and has been given courses of antibiotics to fight against these infections. This is an ongoing battle. It is of her doctors’ opinions (and we agree) that the full rehabilitation she would need in order to reach the goals of long-term recovery that we all wish for her, she will need to be moved to the United States to a special care facility. Once in the US she will require further neurological care, as well as specialized rehabilitation to aid in her current and future condition, in addition to hematological tests to pin point her underlying issues so that this may hopefully never happen again. The team at QEH in Barbados has been stellar; there are just certain treatments that can’t be completed here in Barbados and she’s reached that point.

There is a long road ahead, which will take time and a great amount of money  It is here we need all the help that we can muster for Olivia. Your generous donations will provide Olivia the very best chance of long-term recovery and the life of awareness, mobility and happiness that she truly deserves. On behalf of Olivia, our families and myself, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your kindness. Please help our beautiful girl heal further and come back to us. She is a true fighter and we know she’s doing her best on the inside. It’s up to all of us now to help and fight for her. We cannot thank you enough.

UPDATE

You will notice that the cost of her treatment here on the Go Fund Me page has increased to USD$350,000.00. We have heard from her potential care team in Florida, U.S.A, and listed below are the treatments that Olivia will require as in Inpatient in a specialized Rehabilitation Hospital over the course of 90 days:

1. Further assessment of her neurological reserves to facilitate more advanced treatment modalities to enhance her neurological outcomes.

2. Admittance to the Neurological Rehabilitation Center with Pulmonary/Respiratory Management capabilities - to facilitate weening her off of the ventilator.

3. Peripheral vascular exercises - to facilitate tolerance in an upright position.

4. Physical and Occupational Therapy - for postural control and other mobility issues.

5. Speech and Language Therapy - to work on oral muscular issues, swallowing, coma stimulation, exercises and cognitive functioning.

6. Intense Neuromuscular Rehabilitation, Nursing and Respiratory Care.

7. A Dietician to modulate her feeding via PEG tube.

8. Further Neauropharmacological intervention to enhance her responsiveness and arousal.

9. Air Ambulance services.

NOTE: If she develops any complications, she may require transfer to an acute care facility which would increase the cost.

We all continue to do our absolute best for Olivia and cannot express enough appreciation for the wonderful outpouring of love, support, prayers and generous donations that we have witnessed in her aid. Where there is life, there is a chance. The fight continues for our beautiful girl.
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  • Clare Goldsworthy 
    • $50 
    • 16 mos
  • Val Toppin 
    • $100 
    • 16 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $20 
    • 16 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $10 
    • 17 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $10 
    • 17 mos
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Fundraising team: Team Olivia (5)

Karina Croney 
Organizer
Raised $8,760 from 61 donations
Lori Poggione 
Beneficiary
Nicholas Ward 
Team member
Raised $18,966 from 156 donations
Jade Cossey 
Team member
Raised $10,179 from 71 donations
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