Lifesaving surgery saw a man need part of his skull removed after he suffered a bleed on his brain.

On Thursday March 28, Geoff Smith, 49, and his wife Jo, 48 from South Woodham Ferrers were having a normal when Jo found him collapsed on the floor.

Geoff was suffering from what is called a haemorrhagic stroke, where an artery inside the brain bursts and begins to bleed inside.

Jo was terrified by what she could only describe as a freak incident, saying: "He went to the gym three times a week, didn't have high blood pressure or cholesterol, he has never smoked, ate reasonably healthy and drank alcohol in moderation.

"A stroke like Geoff suffered only effects around 15 per cent of people."

Maldon and Burnham Standard:

He was quickly rushed to Queen's Hospital in Romford where he underwent a lifesaving Craniectomy, a procedure where surgeons remove a part of the skull in order to relieve pressure on his brain.

Alireza Shoakazemi, Neurosurgeon for the Barking, Havering and Redbridge NHS Trust, said: 

“Geoff was referred from his local hospital following a bad stroke as we’re a specialist neurosurgical and stroke centre.

"We decided to undertake a decompressive craniectomy.

"This operation involves removing a large segment of the skull, to allow space for the stroke-damaged brain to swell in to, reducing the spread of damage to the rest of the brain, reducing the risk of further disability or death.

“On arrival, he was a little worse than expected, so he underwent emergency resuscitation and life-saving surgery.

"Thanks to support from our nurses, therapists and medical staff, Geoff’s early recovery has surpassed expectations.”

Jo added: “Geoff now only really has the right side of his skull and a little on the left. He remained in neuro-critical care for 11 days, before being transferred to the acute ward at Queen's Hospital.

He is waiting for a bed on Broomfield's stroke unit to begin his rehabilitation."

Maldon and Burnham Standard:

The couple have been together for 11 years, nine of which they have been married.

It is expected Geoff closer to home after he undergoes another procedure, a Cranioplasty.

The operation will replace the removed part of his skull, and then he will undergo specialist rehabilitation to work on his major impairments more closely.

Last week Geoff was in critical care, but in the past five days, Jo says his progress has been "simply astounding".

She said: "He has some speech, but not much understanding, he can play games, he can draw, he can sing, he can feed himself and most importantly, he can say 'I love you'.

"These three little words that are thrown around so much but not always with real meaning."

The couple plan to document Geoff's recovery to show how such as a "catastrophe" can happen to anyone.

She added: "We want to share this story with everyone to raise awareness of the devastating effects of a stroke."