Melissa Parker makes brain haemorrhage recovery

Irene Moore and daughter Melissa Parker Irene Moore (left) found her daughter Melissa collapsed on the floor outside their Danbury home

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A woman whose heart stopped twice after a brain haemorrhage has defied medical odds by making a near-full recovery.

Melissa Parker, 39, had returned from a shopping trip when she collapsed at her Essex home on 23 December last year.

Her family were told she was unlikely to survive. Discussion was held on resuscitation and organ harvesting.

Miss Parker, from Danbury, was then seen to move a finger. A year on, she has recovered to the extent she has been told she can drive again.

Start Quote

Her eyes were open but there was nothing behind the eyes. She looked like my daughter, but she wasn't my daughter”

End Quote Irene Moore

She has no memory of the moment the haemorrhage struck or the days and weeks which followed in hospital.

She finds the idea of her family having to decide whether or not she should be resuscitated very difficult to deal with.

"I get really upset still because I wish my family had never had to go through that. But they did.

"I died in the ambulance from Broomfield Hospital (in Chelmsford) to Queen's Hospital (Romford) on two occasions and had to be brought back," she said.

'Tough little cookie'

During her four months in three different hospitals, she suffered multiple organ failure and paralysis down her right hand side.

"It had a really devastating effect on my life," said Miss Parker, who worked for a precision engineering firm. "It has been difficult."

Since then she has learned to speak and walk again and taken courses in maths, English, computing and Spanish.

Subarachnoid haemorrhages (SAH)

Melissa Parker
  • The most common symptom reported by those with SAH is a severe and sudden headache
  • Between 10 and 15% of those who suffer an SAH die before they reach hospital
  • Up to 60% of patients can die with the first 30 days

Miss Parker has even had her driving licence returned to her after getting the all-clear from doctors.

Her mother Irene Moore described the moment she found her daughter collapsed as one of terror.

'Best Christmas present'

"Her eyes were open," she said. "But there was nothing behind the eyes. She looked like my daughter, but she wasn't my daughter."

Mrs Moore called Miss Parker's siblings Robin, Ben and Alex to tell them what had happened.

"Broomfield said it was not looking good and we should consider organ donation. The doctors try and prepare you for the worst. But you have to hold on to hope."

"We were also asked whether we had any thoughts on resuscitation because there were fears she was brain dead."

From that point on, Mrs Moore has watched her daughter's recovery with awe.

"I'm very proud of her. She's such a tough little cookie. She's 100% almost.

"Having Melissa home is my best Christmas present."

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