Husband suffers brain damage four days after pregnancy news: how a car accident changed Madeleine’s life

Madeleine Morris.

Madeleine Morris, a midwife, and her husband Anthony found out they were expecting their first child in the last week of February – four days later Anthony was fighting for his life in hospital.

After just two years of marriage, Madeleine received a call anyone dreads – her partner had been involved in a devastating car accident.

Madeleine said it was a miracle her husband had survived given the significant damage to the right side of his brain.

Madeleine and Anthony’s first child is due in October.

“He was airlifted to the new emergency department in Westmead Hospital. When I got there, the nurse unit manager (NUM) greeted me and walked to a quiet place to explain what happened,” Madeleine said.

“I’m a registered nurse and midwife and when I heard about Anthony’s injuries, I absolutely lost it.

We were not sure he would make it.”

“The NUM stayed after her shift to talk to me and walked me the new ICU where Anthony would be moved. She was amazing.”

After four days in a coma, Anthony started showing signs of brain function – his recovery in Westmead Hospital had begun.

Madeleine’s story of selfless support from staff underlines the important of the Patient Experience Week, marked annually between April 26 and 30.

The week is a time to reflect on patient and staff relations, hospital morale and the difference healthcare staff make.

“I keep a long list of people I’d like to thank one day,” Madeleine said.

“From day one, everyone has been going above and beyond to help us get through this. I was arranged leave at work so I could be with Anthony.

“The intensive care unit (ICU) team let me stay during daily rounds and participate in his care. They were very clear with all medical communications but also very humane at the same time.”

Madeleine visits her husband Anthony.

Anthony made his way to the neuro-trauma close observation unit where he continued to amaze everyone as his condition improves despite many complications.

As soon as he was able to write, he started cracking jokes and scribbling messages to his wife.

The first word he wrote – “Madeleine”.

Now he is writing cute messages for the baby – he thinks it’s a girl,” Madeleine shared.

“Anthony will probably be still in the hospital, when our baby is born and I want to give birth in Westmead to make sure he can be there and see the baby as soon as it’s born in October.”

The support of Westmead Hospital staff along the way had helped keep Madeleine strong for Anthony and empowered him to keep progressing.

“The doctors and nurses have celebrated with me every positive development. I knew they wanted the best for him and when I wasn’t there, Anthony was well looked after,” she said.

“The team tended to my every concern and trusted me whenever I told them something wrong was going on with Anthony.

“Sometimes it’s the small things like being offered a cup of coffee that can make your entire day better.”

Anthony has now been transferred to the brain injury rehabilitation unit in Westmead Hospital where his wife will be with him every step of the way – along with his health heroes.

“He is my life, and he would do the same for me. There are so many things to look forward to.”

NSW Health is celebrating Patient Experience Week 26-30 April and our focus is on putting the heart in healthcare.

Visit our new Elevating the Human Experience hub to find out more and let us know what a great patient experience means to you.