Loving mum-of-two could only say the word 'four' after brain surgery caused a stroke

Caroline with sons Max, nine, and six-year-old George
Caroline with sons Max, nine, and six-year-old George

A brain operation caused a stroke leaving a local mum unable to talk.


Although Caroline Sutton has recovered from other physical effects, family were today keen to tell her story as research showed widespread public ignorance of a stroke’s causes and effects.

It was in February 2018 that the Atherton 39-year-old, an NHS trust’s serious investigation lead, underwent a commonplace op to fix a tiny aneurysm. But her life would never be the same again.

Husband Chris said: “The risks of anything going wrong were so small and the procedure so minimally invasive, that she’d potentially be back home within 24 hours. As things turned out, it would actually be over five months before Caroline came home.

She had suffered a brain blood clot and an attempt to remove it left her with massive bleeding and fighting for her life. She was in an induced coma for 18 days.

Chris said: “As the days went by, though extremely weak and paralysed down her right side, it became wonderfully apparent that everything about Caroline as a person was still 100 per cent intact. But she was not able to talk or write. All she could say was ‘four’ over and over. Her written language was largely just a collection of letters in word format, which made no sense.

"It would be easy for a stranger to conclude she was severely brain damaged, so much so that she had no way of articulating her thoughts to those around her. The reason most would jump to that conclusion is that we humans take language for granted. When someone has no language at all, people can assume they have impaired thinking and lost intelligence. But Caroline is as bright and sharp as she’s ever been. She’s still got all the intellectual attributes she always had.

“Despite the heartache and challenges, I’ve never spent as much time laughing as I have with Caroline in the last 12 months. She has now returned to driving. She takes great care of our children and is still the greatest person I’ve ever met. Does her lack of language remove any of her humanity? Not even a slither.”