Story of Healing

Marley Broom

West Baton Rouge Parish

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"He arrived at Children’s Hospital in the same condition, but over the next month, miraculously got better.  "

In Port Allen, Louisiana, you’ll find third grader, Marley Broom. He’s your typical little boy who wants nothing more than to play sports and learn how to play the trombone. With ambition in his heart, his mom, Gretchen, watches in adoration, remember all that Marley has overcome to get to this place in time.  

“When Marley was five-years-old, he woke up complaining that his nose was hurting. I gave him Tylenol and he went back to sleep, and I heard him snoring very loudly. To my disbelief, I couldn’t wake him up, and I immediately called 911,” shares Gretchen.  

The date was August 18, 2018, and Marley was rushed to a hospital in Baton Rouge. Gretchen found out that her son had suffered from a cerebral arteriovenous malformation, or AVM, which occurs when arteries in the brain connect directly to nearby veins without having the normal capillaries between them. 

“They explained it to me like the blood vessels in his brain were formed like a web on the cerebellum, and then it ruptured,” explains Gretchen. “It’s very rare and can happen at different stages of life. He continues to be evaluated for more weak spots in his brain as he grows. But they haven’t found anymore in his brain development.” 

During his stay in Baton Rouge, Marley was on a ventilator for the first week. He also couldn’t do anything like see or talk or even make a noise. Gretchen says he could only move his right arm. His healthcare providers decided the best course of action for his recovery would be to send him to Children’s Hospital New Orleans.  

He arrived at Children’s Hospital in the same condition, but over the next month, miraculously got better.  

“He was walking, talking, eating, and even using the bathroom on his own,” explains Gretchen. “He was a different child, but on the road to returning to his normal self. Our main doctor was Dr. Lindsay Elliott, and we loved our nurses and musical therapy.” 

Gretchen describes the rehab center at Children’s Hospital as being life-changing for Marley. Each therapist, whether it be speech or physical, were all very patient with his progress.  

“As a mom, I wanted him to hurry up and get better. I remember my mom and aunt came one weekend to give me a break and Marley was barely speaking at this point. The second I returned from my weekend away; he was speaking in full sentences. I was amazed!” says Gretchen.  

Gretchen said, his musical therapy was so helpful in his healing, that she decided to buy Marley a guitar on top of his desire to also learn the trombone. She recalls the families and nurses also being therapeutic for her personally during their stay at Children’s Hospital.  

“We really, really loved the nurses. Being from West Baton Rouge, I didn’t have family close by to be with Marley. So, I enjoyed if I needed run to Walmart or needed to get out, I could leave him and trust the nurses to be with him and truly care for him. Plus, we met wonderful families during our stay with different situations. It just made it easier and relatable,” shares Gretchen.  

To learn more about the Rehabilitation Center at Children’s Hospital New Orleans, Click here