British man has new SKULL built after being injured in ‘brutal attack’ in New Zealand
A British man who is recovering from life-threatening injuries in a hospital in New Zealand must have part of his skull replaced, according to his doctors.
Josh Storer, 26, from Derby, suffered a traumatic brain injury after an alleged assault in an Auckland bar on July 9.
The plumber was rushed to hospital where he underwent extensive brain surgery and was kept in an artificial coma for three weeks. A craniectomy had to remove part of his skull to relieve pressure on his brain.
However, he has ‘shocked’ doctors by recovering a ‘miracle cure’ and has been released from a rehabilitation center under the care of his family – just the day before he celebrated his 26th birthday.
Josh’s family traveled from Spondon to be with him as soon as New Zealand’s Covid restrictions allowed and they have been staying there since late July.
Josh Storer, 26, from Derby (pictured before the incident), suffered a traumatic brain injury after an alleged assault at a bar in Auckland, New Zealand on July 9.
His sister Sian – who saw him for the first time on September 22 – said his future prognosis is still uncertain.
She said: ‘When we recently descended to level 3 in Auckland, a designated visitor was allowed to visit Josh for an hour every day and he and I were finally reunited.
“Josh was so happy when I visited him and his mood has improved since the visits started. I was overjoyed to see him and was quite emotional.
“He is doing very well in the rehabilitation center, although he has fallen a few times because the blood does not flow quickly enough to his brain when he stands up. He has had a fever and also low blood pressure – his heart is beating faster than it should.
“We’ve been told that when we reach level 2 of the pandemic, Josh will be able to have his surgery. But he has been told that his skull, which was originally removed to relieve pressure on his brain after the incident, is no longer suitable and a replacement skull is being made for him.”
The family, including Josh’s parents Ian and Dawn, were delighted to have him with them in time for his birthday. Sian added: “Being with us will greatly aid his recovery and mental well-being. He will be outpatient and still receive follow-up care.
“I wouldn’t say it’s exactly the same Josh he was before the accident, but I’d say it usually is.
“He’s forgetful, he’ll have trouble solving problems and things like that, and emotions can go up and down from hour to hour.
‘In terms of damage, that is irreversible. There are quite a few scars on the frontal lobe.
The plumber was kept in an artificial coma for three weeks following extensive brain surgery following the incident and part of his skull was removed (pictured) to relieve pressure on his brain
“The doctors are shocked that he has come this far to be honest. They told us to prepare for the worst, so to be honest I think he’s a bit of a miracle.”
The procedure that Josh underwent to remove a suture flap is called a craniectomy, and if it is not replaced with the original bone, either a metal plate or a synthetic material is inserted.
Josh, who had been working on a visa as a plumber in New Zealand for more than three years, was kept in an artificial coma for three weeks following extensive brain surgery following the incident at The Albany bar. His medical expenses are expected to be covered by insurance.
New Zealand authorities granted a border waiver, allowing his parents Ian and Dawn Storer and Sian to enter the country to see him, although they had to quarantine for two weeks.
His mother and father finally made it to bed in time to see him smile after he woke up from the coma in intensive care in August.
It had been three years since they last saw their son in person as the coronavirus pandemic prevented them from meeting as planned earlier last year.
Friends have gathered around the family to raise money so they can stay in the country.
A total of £14,645 has been raised from a £15,000 goal on a GoFundMe ‘Help the Storer family reach Josh’ page set up by a family friend and more money has been raised by friends in New Zealand for the cost of flying and staying in the country.
They also hosted a charity football match at the Borrowash Victoria AFC ground on September 19, raising £3,522.
Sian said: ‘They had a football game and also did a raffle with some great prizes, Josh’s grandparents, uncles, aunts and friends were in attendance and we heard it was a fantastic day hosted by Zoe Hallack, Jade Martin, Coral Fearn and Kane. Jordan.
However, he has “shocked” doctors by recovering a “miracle” and now part of his skull must be replaced with the original bone, a metal plate or synthetic material. Pictured: Josh, wearing a protective helmet, with his sister Sian
“We would also like to thank Harley Turner and Lewis Jennison who cut hair for two days and donated all of their earnings to Josh’s fundraiser.
“It’s amazing how many people came together to help a family in crisis and we are all so grateful to them.”
Despite the donations, the family says there are still many expenses to cover, such as suitable rental housing for the coming months. and they also have yet to hear whether they will have to pay a quarantine fee of £6,150 or whether they will be waived.
Sian added: “As a family we don’t know what Josh’s future looks like, which is scary. We do know that Josh is a fighter and will do anything to get back to what he was, but he has irreversible damage to his brain that could limit him for the rest of his life.”
Before moving to New Zealand, Josh was a plumber in the UK, after completing his education at West Park School in Spondon.
A 56-year-old man has been charged with injury with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
He originally appeared before the North Shore District Court on July 15 and will then appear on October 27.