Pioneering neurosurgeon saves two young boys by performing simultaneous brain surgery
Fathers of two injured boys recognised each other from football
16:32 GMT, 20 March 2012
A neurosurgeon saved the lives of two boys by performing simultaneous brain surgery on them both after they were rushed to hospital with identical injuries.
The youngsters arrived by ambulance at the same time with bleeding on the brain and their lives hanging in the balance.
Two operating theatres were set up, a surgical team was organised and Consultant Paediatric Neurosurgeon Saurabh Sinha immediately operated on the boys aged eight and 12.
Highly skilled: Mr Saurabh Sinha (left) with the Owen Wilkinson and his father Mark and mother Caroline. He operated on another boy with a dangerous brain bleed at the same time
Mr Sinha is one of the few surgeons in the UK performing neurosurgery through the nose rather than by cutting through the skull and his skill saved the life of both schoolboys.
Owen Wilkinson,now nine, was taken to hospital when he began feeling sick after a minor fall in the playground at his primary school in October 2011, where his mother Caroline is deputy head teacher.
Medical staff at Barnsley General Hospital realised his injuries were more serious and he was immediately transferred to Sheffield Children's Hospital.
Said his mother: 'When I was told Owen had a skull fracture and a severe bleed on the brain, it was as though I was in an imaginary bubble.
'You never think it will happen to your child and your initial thoughts are 'will he survive'
While she was waiting at the Children's Hospital with husband, Mark, they met another couple, whose 12-year-old son had also been rushed into surgery with exactly the same condition.
Lucky boy: Owen has made a good recovery after he was treated for a fracture skull at the Sheffield Children's Hospital
Mrs Wilkinson said: 'What was even more incredible was that Mark recognised the other boy's father from football. When we realised that the boys needed the same emergency operation it made us even more anxious about them.
'When we were told that Owen was out of theatre and being taken to the intensive care unit the relief was unbelievable.We were told Owen was a very lucky boy and he was doing really well.
'Saving two lives like that at the same time takes such a highly skilled and dedicated team and we thank them all from the bottom of our hearts.
'We wouldn' t have Owen today without their care and dedication. Mr Sinah is a very special man.
'I have been in the touch with the other boy's family and we are hoping to take the two of them out together at some point.'
Owen's family is determined to thank the hospital and have so far raised almost 4,000 to help fund specialist medical equipment for the hospitals theatres.
The money will go towards new endoscopic instruments which will enable surgeons to perform neurosurgery through the nose rather than by cutting through the skull.
Mr Sinha is one of the few paediatric neurosurgeons in the UK whose team is performing this kind of endoscopic transnasal operation on children.
David Vernon-Edwards, director of The Children's Hospital Charity, said: 'Our amazing staff like Mr Sinha are changing lives like Owen's every day. Our theatres staff perform 11,000 operations every year.
'We greatly value the support of families like Owen's to ensure we can provide our surgeons with groundbreaking equipment to enable them to do the best job they can.'