How MRI helped save my son’s life - 10 July 2017

How MRI helped save my son’s life - 10 July 2017

Musgrove Park Hospital’s official charity Love Musgrove has this summer launched a £1 million appeal to buy a third MRI scanner for the hospital. Claire Sowerby is a junior sister at Musgrove’s cardiology department, and has met many patients and families who needed an MRI scan over the years.

In March this year Claire had first-hand experience of the importance of an MRI scanner when her 15 year old boy, Braden, was diagnosed with a tumour.

Claire said: “Braden had been suffering from headaches for about three months and he was being treated with medication for migraines. Many of his symptoms were true of a migraine or as a side effect of his medications and at that point we had no reason for concern.

“He trains regularly doing boxing fitness with his Dad, my husband Roy. This particular Sunday my husband noticed that Braden was unable to concentrate or hit the pad properly. He came home and told me, and I immediately knew something was wrong. I knew what this could mean. 

“We took him to see his GP that following Monday and as soon as we described his change in symptoms I knew the GP was thinking the same as me. He referred Braden for an urgent appointment at Musgrove’s children’s unit and we were expecting anywhere up to a two week wait for an MRI scan.

“The following day we had a call from the hospital asking us to bring Braden in. They examined him and ordered an MRI scan. They allowed us home that night and we returned the following morning to await his scan. I went into the scan room with him – watching him lying there undergoing the scan was truly awful. All our fears were becoming a reality. As a nurse, I understand body language and I understand our professional compassion so I could see that the medical team were concerned. Although they remaining professional, caring, understanding and honest, I knew by gut instinct that something was wrong.

“After the scan, our consultant took us into a side room where she told us the results. Those words I couldn't take in. Braden had a brain tumour. My daughter and I broke down into tears, my son, the bravest boy I know, and my husband were stunned. We were told where the tumour was and what this meant, and that a plan had already been put in place for immediate treatment.

“Braden’s operation took just over nine hours. It was without doubt the worst and longest nine hours of our lives. Finally, in early evening the news came that his operation had gone well and his amazing neurological team had managed to remove the tumour completely.

“A few weeks after his operation we got the biopsy results and the tumour was confirmed as a Grade 1 Pilocytic Astrocytoma – in short this means it is unlikely to grow back. He must have an MRI scan every three months at Musgrove and these will become fewer and fewer if all is well.

“We will be forever grateful and indebted to the amazing hospital teams for their prompt response, diagnosis, care and treatment. Time is so precious. Without the ability of our MRI team to fit Braden in within a few hours we can't imagine how it would have felt to have waited any longer.

“For us the MRI scanner is the most important piece of equipment in ensuring our boy remains well and on his journey to full recovery.

“None of us know just how important a new MRI scanner will be to them, their family and friends. Our hospital provides an already fantastic service but needs all our support to make it even better. 

“Braden’s experience has made me feel even more determined that Musgrove gets a third MRI scanner. I’m going to organise a “Marathons for Musgrove” fundraiser, so watch this space! More information about the marathons can be found here:

“So please do get involved in our appeal. Either fill in the form on this page or visit to take part in a challenge event.”