Preston midwife who suffered rare brain haemorrhage gets matching leg tattoo with father

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A father and daughter from Preston have got matching tattoos to mark her recovery from a rare brain haemorrhage.

It was a case of being in the right place at the right time for Ellie Steele, 23, from Penwortham, who works as a midwife at Royal Preston Hospital when she suffered a brain haemorrhage in April.

While tending to others she became unwell with a severe headache which impacted her vision. She was rushed to accident and emergency by her colleagues where it was found she had a large and rare brain haemorrhage called arteriovenous malformation (AVM).

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Ellie said: "I have probably had this all my life and been born with it, but it has never been identified.

Ellie and her father have become tattoo buddiesEllie and her father have become tattoo buddies
Ellie and her father have become tattoo buddies

"I spent about a week in critical care where I needed emergency brain surgery on the Saturday after it happened where they needed to remove the blood clot.

"I then spent some more time in critical care where I was in quite a lot of pain and then had my second brain surgery where they dealt with the blood vessel."Ellie was then discharged and helped by Headway in Lancashire which supports people who have suffered an acquired brain injury or a major trauma.

She is now well on the road to recovery but says without the swift actions of her colleagues she may not have survived.

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"I was extremely lucky to have been working when this was found as my colleagues rushed me straight to accident and emergency,” she added. “I could have been driving in the community or even home on my own."

The tattoos serve as a reminder that life is shortThe tattoos serve as a reminder that life is short
The tattoos serve as a reminder that life is short

A brain arteriovenous malformation (AVM) is a tangle of blood vessels that connects arteries and veins in the brain. In an AVM blood passes quickly from the arteries to the veins, disrupting the typical blood flow and depriving the surrounding tissues of oxygen.

Most occur in the brain and spinal cord, but they can happen anywhere in the body. Some people have symptoms; others only have symptoms after an event like a brain bleed.

Her father Clarke, 51, who works as a tailor for Hellewell Menswear in Preston, came up with the idea of getting matching brain tattoos.

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Midwife Ellie Steele and her father Clarke got matching brain tattoos on their legs after she suffered a rare brain hemorrhage while working at Royal Preston HospitalMidwife Ellie Steele and her father Clarke got matching brain tattoos on their legs after she suffered a rare brain hemorrhage while working at Royal Preston Hospital
Midwife Ellie Steele and her father Clarke got matching brain tattoos on their legs after she suffered a rare brain hemorrhage while working at Royal Preston Hospital

Clarke and his wife Michelle who also have a 14-year-old son Rudy, said: "We got a phone call around midnight from the hospital to give authorisation to do the brain operation.

"The worry me and my wife had. We didn't know if we were going to see our girl again. It's every parents worst fear. You just realise how fragile life is.

"When she went into critical care and after the operation I stupidly said when you make a full recovery we will get matching tattoos like a throwaway comment of something you say in the moment."

However, Ellie held her father to his word and both now have matching coloured brain tattoos which take pride of place on their legs.

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Ellie after the operationEllie after the operation
Ellie after the operation

He added: "It was two and a half hours of pure pain, but I would have had a full back tattoo if it meant getting my girl home.

"She's such a tough character and just got on with it afterwards so it didn't really impact her that much.

"The main thing for her was having to have her hair cut off for the surgery as everyone used to comment how beautiful and long it was.

"She just wants to get back to work and hopefully will be able to do that later this month."

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