Ben Graham approaching an important one-year milestone, January 2024
AVM survivor, treated with neurosurgical/neurovascular intervention by Dr. David Chesler and Dr. David Fiorella
They say that kids are resilient, and eight-year-old Ben Graham is living proof. Out of the blue, on February 17, 2023, Ben suddenly complained that his eye hurt. When things got worse from there, his parents, Kate and Bill, called 9-1-1 and Ben was rushed to Stony Brook Children’s Hospital. Upon examination, Dr. David Chesler, Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery, diagnosed Ben with a ruptured arteriovenous malformation (AVM). An AVM is an abnormal tangle of blood vessels, usually in the spine or brain, that disrupts the normal flow of blood. Ruptured AVMs are highly fatal and early detection in children is especially rare. The one Ben experienced had resulted in what’s known as a significant intracranial/intraventricular hemorrhage. This means that Ben’s brain bleed had caused blood to pool between his brain and skull and that the bleeding had spread into the fluid-filled areas (ventricles) inside his brain. In other words, it was life-threatening. Time was of the essence. Ben was successfully treated via neurosurgical and neurovascular intervention by Dr. Chesler and neurointerventionalist, David Fiorella, who heads the Cerebrovascular Center at Stony Brook. The treatment and care that Ben received at Stony Brook made a lasting impression on the entire Graham family. Today, Ben wakes up happy every day. He’s back to playing sports and doing everything he’s always loved doing with family and friends.