Bellshill toddler is a little miracle

Siobhan McMahon visits fellow hemiplegia sufferer Jessica Walker and  mum Kirsty.
Siobhan McMahon visits fellow hemiplegia sufferer Jessica Walker and mum Kirsty.

Bellshill youngster Jessica Walker seems like a typical toddler, but the three-year-old was close to death after suffering a stroke at birth.

Jessica was born four weeks premature at Wishaw General Hospital and a blood clot in her arm meant it looked black and dead.

Yorkhill Hospital were able to save the arm using new drugs, but the stroke damaged her brain leading to the condition hemiplegia.

Her mum Kirsty said: “Jessica is a special wee girl, we were told she’d only live for 24 hours so the fact she’s here now is a miracle.

“We didn’t know anything was wrong until she was born, but it appears her arm got trapped while in the womb.

“My two older boys Michael and Ewan are both fine, with Jessica it was just an unfortunate thing.

“There was either a clot in her brain or the clot in her arm travelled to her brain that caused the stroke, we’re not really sure what came first,

“There was talk of amputating her arm, but at Yorkhill new medication Heparin was being trialled.

“We had to wait a week to see if she would live, but ever so slowly a tiny pulse appeared in her arm and then we knew it was going to work.

“Jessica was in hospital for six weeks, which was a really tough time, but there is no question they saved her.”

Jessica has weakness on the right of her body, sight issues and autistic tendencies.

Kirsty said: “Physically she is slower than her friends, but she’ll certainly give it a go.

“Jessica is in mainstream nursery, but mainstream school is still a question mark, we are hopeful, but just need to wait and see.

“She’ll always have some physical impairment, but plenty people overcome that to enjoy happy and successful lives.”

For more information about hemiplegia visit and to talk to people affected find the Hemi Chat page on Facebook.

Siobhan McMahon MSP says nearly 30 years after she was born with hemiplegia that more awareness is still required.

Siobhan, a patron of national charity HemiHelp, said: “When I was born they said something had happened in the birth, obviously there was a lack of oxygen to the brain.

“If you look at my medical notes it says I was just lazy, I didn’t want to use my right hand as my mum is left handed so I was trying to copy her.

“Doctors put my condition down to different things, including telling my parents I had cerebral palsy, as people know what that is.

“Jessica’s case proves there is still a lack of awareness about hemiplegia and that has to change.”