A boy who suffered a rare stroke at the age of two is making a remarkable recovery thanks to quick-acting parents and the expert medical team at Southampton Children’s Hospital (SCH).

The parents of Carter Bayley were told to prepare for the worst as he was rushed into the paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) to try and reduce brain swelling.

The toddler had suffered an arterial ischemic stroke, a rare form of stroke that effects less than 100 children a year in the UK.

But, thanks to the expertise of medics at SCH, Carter returned home in time to celebrate his third birthday.

Daily Echo: Carter during his hospital stay

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Carter, from Crowthorne in Berkshire, was having a bath when his parents Elise and Lawrence noticed a sudden drop on the right-hand side of his face.

Thinking it was an allergic reaction, they gave him a dose of Piriton and he returned to normal. When his face dropped again moments later, they knew something wasn’t right.

Carter was rushed to his local hospital where the decision was made to transfer him to SCH, a regional centre for paediatric neurology, where he was put into a medically induced coma and stabilised.

Mum Elise said: "It was the worst time for us all. We were told Carter's type of stroke was severe and to prepare for the worst, but we were always hopeful. Nobody could tell us for sure what the future was going to look like and if Carter would survive."

After four days of round-the clock care, Carter was transferred to the paediatric high dependency unit where he started an intensive rehabilitation programme through a service only available at a handful of children’s hospitals in the UK.

Dr Georgina Bird-Lieberman, consultant paediatric neurologist and Southampton Children’s Integrated Rehabilitation Team (SCIRT) lead, explained: “Carter suffered a severe stroke and was initially put to sleep to protect his brain.

"When he was woken, he was unable to communicate and was severely weak on the right side of his body. It was important that the SCIRT team started his rehabilitation as soon as possible.

“With Carter being so young, we took a very playful approach to his rehab. Despite the extent of Carter’s stroke, he has made a remarkable recovery."

Daily Echo: Carter in PICU in Southampton

After six weeks of intense rehabilitation, Carter was making progress with his speech and could take a few aided steps. Having astounded medics with the speed of his recovery, he is now at home, learning to take independent steps and continuing his rehabilitation.

Carter’s Dad, Lawrence, said: “Carter is now back to the happy little boy he was, laughing and playing. He's still got a long way to go, but when I see that smile on his face, we couldn't ask for more."

Andrea Whitney, consultant paediatric neurologist at SCH, added: “We were lucky that Carter's parents spotted the signs fast, which enabled us to diagnose his condition and stabilise him as quickly as possible.

"We’re all thrilled with the speed in which Carter has recovered."