Phoenix Children's Hospital helps 5-year-old Anthony Massey survive and thrive

PHOENIX - It was February 6, 2009. Anthony and Tyesha Massey were counting down the last few weeks until little baby Anthony would join their family. The couple headed out to run some errands and prepare for the next day’s baby shower.  

“It was just a normal day like any other,” Anthony told me.

He turned down 83rd Avenue  to head toward Thomas Road when seemingly out of nowhere, they were blindsided by another car and their lives changed in an instant.

“That airbag exploded and once that airbag popped out, that's what caused most of the damage,” Tyesha said. Anthony suffered a broken rib and a lacerated spleen and Tyesha’s mouth and face was pretty banged up. 

“There's no other way to explain it. It just didn't seem real. To see the blood and her in that position, knowing that she's pregnant with my child was very, very nerve wracking,” Anthony said.

Even as the couple suffered through some pretty intense pain, none of that mattered next to the condition of their unborn child. Tyesha knew right away that she needed to get to a hospital.

“At that time the only thing I'm thinking is about my son, like, is he going to be OK. Holding my stomach I knew something was wrong.”

Paramedics rushed Tyesha to Phoenix Children’s Hospital where baby Anthony was born, but all was not well with this fragile infant.

“No brain signals at all. He was having seizures. He had a stroke inside of my womb so he went through a lot,” Tyesha said.

That lack of any brain activity at all pushed the Masseys to the brink of a life or death decision. Would little Anthony even survive and if so, how would he overcome what they saw on the scanners? The nurses provided a support system for this family beyond the bedside analysis of baby Anthony’s vitals and his prospects for recovery. They helped hold Anthony, Sr. and Tyesha up at the moment they needed it the most.

“There's no manual or textbook to read to go through or something like that. You know it's just however you handle it you handle it,” Anthony said.

The medical professionals at PCH were there to help this couple and their baby pull through. And they did it with cutting edge “Cool Cap” technology. This process has been used with cancer patients in the past to prevent hair loss and in this case, doctors cooled baby Anthony’s brain to stimulate activity and it worked!

There can be no doubt as you see little Anthony now; a typical five year old with a seemingly unlimited source of energy.

Anthony loved playing reporter with our ABC15 microphone when we paid a visit to his Phoenix home. It’s hard to believe that his current, healthy condition is even possible. Even after his brain activity picked up, Anthony’s parents feared he’d never walk or talk or that he would develop cerebral palsy or any number of disabilities, but now his parents are pretty sure he’s destined for greatness.

“From the looks of it he's planning on taking over the world...that, or saving it, one or the other. I think the sky's the limit for him,” Anthony said.

“He is a spunky, energetic, amazing personality. He is out of this world,” Tyesha said.

Anthony still has his challenges. He has ongoing physical therapy after a number of surgeries and he’s developmentally delayed. But those are just temporary setbacks for a little boy who defied the odds thanks to his loving parents and Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Tyesha couldn’t be more grateful.

“If it really wasn't for Phoenix Children's Hospital and everything that they've done and the amazing doctors and the technology that they have, all the resources that we had, we probably wouldn't have my son today.”

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