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DAD FORCED TO PAY FOR OWN BRAIN OP; EXCLUSIVE Life-saver costs him pounds 60k.

Byline: By EMILY COOK Health Correspondent

SERIOUSLY ill Pete Nash was told to pay pounds 60,000 for a life-saving brain op himself after the NHS refused.

The dad-of-three, 38, has a cluster of tangled blood vessels in his skull which could burst at any time - causing paralysis, a stroke or even death.

Doctors warned him he was a "walking timebomb", yet his local NHS trust has refused to fund vital surgery because of a one-in-five chance it could fail.

But yesterday, after his wife Julia, 41, and three teenage sons raised the money in just four months, Pete had the first of three risky procedures at Frenchay Hospital in Bristol.

As the family waited nervously for him to come round, Julia told how they had been let down by the NHS. "Everyone pays in and believes they are entitled to whatever operation they need when they are ill," she said.

"We shouldn't have had to fundraise for an operation like this but we had no choice."

She added: "I knew finding the money would be daunting, but Pete's my hero and I wasn't going to mope and do nothing."

His condition, an arteriovenous malformation (AVM), is so rare it affects less than one per cent of the population.

Pete was born with it and lived a normal life until one morning in 2004 when he suffered a massive seizure which stopped his breathing.

Since then, the once fit and active dad has become a shadow of his former self, suffering crippling headaches, short-term memory loss and epileptic fits, leaving him unable to work.

Initially, Julia and twin sons Peter and Lewis, 17, and brother Benn, 14, hoped he would get surgery on the NHS. But they were dealt a blow earlier this year when West Herfordshire Primary Care Trust ruled out treatment, saying experts warned the risks outweighed the benefits.

Undeterred, the family threw themselves into a series of fundraising events.

Pete was "doing OK" after the sixhour operation yesterday by leading neurosurgeon David Porter.

He said: "We grade AVMs one to five' one being small, five being untreatable. Pete measures four and is very risky."

The blood vessels were "glued" into place to stop them moving and bleeding. The final 18-hour op carries the biggest risk.

Tearful Julia, from Kings Langley, Herts, said: "We're all praying for him."

HEALTH bosses did a U-turn yesterday and said they will fund pounds 100,000 treatments of Hurlers Syndrome for eight-year-old Hayleigh Reynolds from Glasgow.

emily.cook@mirror.co.uk

CAPTION(S):

WALKING TIMEBOMB: Pete with Julia' DEADLY: Pete's scan
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Dec 9, 2006
Words:429
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