8:00am Thursday 6th March 2014
AN ASPIRING rapper who almost lost his life after a brutal attack in Halesowen in 2012 is finally having an operation to remove a giant dent in his head after an agonising 18 month wait.
Conor Southall, who will be operated on tomorrow (Friday), was minutes away from from the operation last month, but despite being in his hospital gown and measured up for the procedure at Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital, it was cancelled.
The 19-year-old from Oldbury had to wait as the hospital classed the operation "cosmetic" despite him not being able to live a normal life. The breakthrough news came just hours after the Halesowen News phoned the hospital to find out when the operation could take place.
Conor's mother Mandy Boyes said: "We are over the moon, we should have phoned the Halesowen News last year.
"How the hospital can call it cosmetic is beyond me. If he falls over and hits his head he could die and to have the operation cancelled twice has been very hard on him."
Conor, who lives with his mum in Brookfields Road, said he was in pain most of the time and is scared to go out alone.
"I have many negative thoughts and dreams and I'm often depressed," added the teenager, who has had no counselling since his skull was staved in when he was set upon in Cocksheds Lane in June 2012.
Miss Boyes said her son's life had been devastated by the horrific injuries he sustained and was desperate for the operation.
She added: "For him to be in his gown and have the marking drawn on him but then to have it cancelled is awful, we just want him to have a normal life of a 19-year-old.
"What sickens me is the lad who did this is back out on the streets and gets all kinds of help when Conor gets nothing in terms of counselling."
Conor was on the critical list in hospital for more than a week after the attack until he came round from a coma to the relief of family and friends who kept a bedside vigil.
He said: "I'm just waiting to get on with my life but cannot do anything at the moment - that's why I need my operation.
"I cannot get a job, cannot drive and I cannot release any music until I have my operation."
"After my operation I will go to self defence lessons as I don't want that to happen to me ever again."
A 16-year-old, who could not be named because he was a juvenile, was sentenced to 18 months youth detention in September 2012 after admitting the assault.
His victim remains grateful for the outpouring of support of received as he fought for his life in hospital.
"I was overwhelmed by how many people supported me from Halesowen and even across the world, even groups who I listen to check on me so I cannot wait to get back in the studio," added Conor.
A spokseman for the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation said: "Cancelling operations is always regrettable. However, we were unable to proceed with Mr Southall’s operation for a titanium cranioplasty due to emergencies on the day that took priority.
"The procedure has been rescheduled for the earliest possible and most clinically appropriate date."
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