Boy, six, is left in a coma after his 'headache' was a rare condition that ...

A six-year-old boy is in an induced coma after a headache turned out to be a rare condition which caused his brain to swell up.

Ellis Artist, from Clayton, West Yorkshire, started feeling ill last Tuesday – he woke up screaming because of pain in his neck and head and began vomiting.

The next day Ellis was rushed to hospital, where he became barely responsive and developed a rash on his body. 

He was then diagnosed with acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM), which medics spotted using MRI scans.

Doctors do not know what to expect for the schoolboy, who has been suffering from seizures since being put into the coma last Friday.

Parents Sarah Girdwood, 34, and Paul Artist, 37, say they are preparing for the worst – the condition can lead to disabilities in severe cases.

Ellis Artist, six, of Clayton, West Yorkshire, started to feel unwell last Tuesday, waking up screaming due to pain in his neck and head, as well as vomiting

Ellis Artist, six, of Clayton, West Yorkshire, started to feel unwell last Tuesday, waking up screaming due to pain in his neck and head, as well as vomiting

Ellis has been put in a medically induced coma after being diagnosed with a rare inflammatory condition called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM)

Ellis has been put in a medically induced coma after being diagnosed with a rare inflammatory condition called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM)

He developed a rash on his body which doctors initially thought could be meningitis 

He developed a rash on his body which doctors initially thought could be meningitis 

Ms Girdwood, who works in a bakery, and Mr Artist, a transport manager, have been waiting at their son's bedside, where they expect to be for around two months.

Speaking on the parents' behalf, Ellis's aunt Nicola Bicknell, 34, from Halifax, said: 'We don't know what will happen until he comes round or how severe it is.

'We don't know if there will be long term effects or if he will be left disabled.

'It's awful, it's such a distressing time. It's now a waiting game and it's the not knowing that really gets you.

'If you know what you're looking at you can try and deal with it but it's the fear of the unknown.'

When Ellis returned from school last Tuesday, mother-of-four Ms Girdwood gave her son some Calpol.

Ms Bicknell said: 'He was fine after that and bouncing around.

'Then he woke up in the middle of the night screaming that his head and neck hurt and he was vomiting because of the pain.'

The next day, Ms Girdwood kept Ellis off school and he went to stay with his grandma, Kathryn Artist.

He fell asleep and after struggling to wake him, Ms Artist took Ellis to the doctors who suggested he could have a virus.

They added that Ellis should be taken to A&E if he wasn't any better within six hours.

Two hours later, Ms Artist rushed Ellis to the Bradford Royal Infirmary, where medics believed he could have meningitis.

Ms Bicknell said: 'He also developed a red rash on his body.  

Ellis became unresponsive when he fell asleep at his grandmother's house (pictured, in hospital where he is still being kept in an induced coma)

Ellis became unresponsive when he fell asleep at his grandmother's house (pictured, in hospital where he is still being kept in an induced coma)

Ellis' grandmother, Kathryn Artist, took him into hospital two hours after he saw a doctor

Ellis' grandmother, Kathryn Artist, took him into hospital two hours after he saw a doctor

Ellis' parents, Sarah Girdwood, 34, and Paul Artist, 37 are preparing for the worst, considering the condition can lead to disabilities in severe cases

Ellis' parents, Sarah Girdwood, 34, and Paul Artist, 37 are preparing for the worst, considering the condition can lead to disabilities in severe cases

Ellis' rare condition has shown to have affected his brain and spine in MRI scans

Ellis' rare condition has shown to have affected his brain and spine in MRI scans

'They thought it might have been viral meningitis so he was admitted to the paediatric ward and was given antibiotics.

'He barely woke up and was crying and murmuring in his sleep. It was really frightening for everyone.'

Ellis was given a CT scan and lumbar puncture – a sample of fluid taken from the spine – which proved inconclusive so last Friday, January 31, doctors sent him for an MRI scan.

Ms Bicknell said: 'Two hours later the doctor came back and said he needs to be in intensive care.

'They put him in a medically-induced coma and transferred him to Leeds General Infirmary.

'He had another MRI scan on Monday where they discovered the swelling had spread from his brain

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