A Texas family’s trip to the Big Apple for their 10-year-old son’s birthday turned into a nightmare, after their son became violently ill and was induced into a coma at a New York City ICU.
Riker Stippick’s family surprised him with a birthday vacation to New York City to experience the popular Broadway musical, Hamilton, and to eat his first slice of New York City pizza.
“Bless his sweet little heart,” David Stippick, Riker’s dad, told FOX 7.
“He wanted to go to the Weehawken dueling ground where Aaron Burr and Hamilton had their duel,” he said.
Stippick said that on his son’s tenth birthday, the last thing on his mind was that his son could become violently ill.
“Your kid is happy and healthy and 10, you kind of assume they’re going to stay that way,” said Stippick.
On the way to the World Trade Center, Riker’s health took a turn, and he shared with his parents that he was experiencing the “worst headache” he had ever had.
“There’s a building over there that we walked through and as soon as we walked through that building he said, ‘Oh, I have a really bad headache. This is the worst headache I’ve ever had,’” Stippick told the local outlet.
Moments later, the birthday boy vomited and laid down near a bench to rest.
“It was like a shriek of pain,” said Stippick.
They took him to the hospital, where doctors put him in a medically induced coma.
“It’s as awful as it sounds, you know what I mean?” said Stippick.
New York City doctors told Riker’s parents that they believe that he may have experienced an arteriovenous malformation, which is an abnormal connection between his arteries and veins and can cause bleeding into the brain or spinal cord.
Doctors said that the 10-year-old experienced an aneurysm inside his arteries and veins– leading to his excruciating pain.
Surgeons had to drill a hole into Riker’s skull to drain blood and fluid and to remove clotting.
“We don’t know the genuine hope of if and when he does come out of this, what kind of therapies or treatments are going to be needed down the line,” said Stippick.
Doctors still need to do an MRI on the boy before they can give his family an official diagnosis.
They told Riker’s parents that he must become stable and get off of his tubes and machines before they can fully diagnose him.
Now the Stippicks are praying that their son will wake up from the coma and that they will receive answers to their many questions about their son’s health.
“We never expected it to be our reality, but it is,” said Stippick.
The family’s support system, including their church in Texas, has rallied around the family during their nightmare.
Their church’s lead pastor at Peace of Christ Church opened a GoFundMe account that reached more than $78,000 in just a few days.
“I don’t have the words to say thank you to everybody outside the words thank you,” said Stippick.