4-year-old boy transforms into the Hulk to smash his fears of medical procedure at Beaumont Royal Oak

‘He was in character from the beginning to the end’

Joey Owen (Owen Family)

ROYAL OAK, Mich. – A 4-year-old boy who needed to receive a medical procedure at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, transformed into the Hulk to smash away his fears.

Joey Owen needed an Electroencephalography (EEG), a test that detects abnormalities in brain waves.

“He was in character from the beginning to the end,” Jimmy Najia, a registered EEG technician within the Clinical Neurophysiology Department, said. “He came in the door with his hands up as the Hulk and that’s how he left.”

Joey Owen’s had seizures since he was just six months old. When he was two, he was diagnosed with benign infantile focal epilepsy, a genetic epileptic syndrome that spikes during sleep.

“He’s had roughly six EEGs in his lifetime,” Joey’s mom, Rebecca Owen of Taylor, said. “Because he was so little when they began, he was completely traumatized. It got to the level where he would have to be wrapped up like a burrito and held down. He would scream and cry until he fell asleep because he was so exasperated.”

Before this procedure, he decided to dress up as the Hulk to fight his fears.

'I’m the Hulk, mom. We got this'

“Just before his most recent procedure, he was really scared so he asked me if he could dress up as the Hulk so he could be brave like him,” Rebecca Owen said. “He had his costume on in the car the whole way there.”

Joey Owen (Owen Family)

Joey Owen said, “I’m the Hulk, mom. We got this,” before walking into the hospital.

“I can’t even explain how I felt because the past times, I had to carry him in crying,” Rebecca Owen said. “For him to walk in on his own, it was a big deal. He was going to go in there and be the brave one this time.”

Joey Owen took his Spiderman doll, spiderman blanket and other Marvel friends with him.

“This mother was watching her son have seizures since he was six months old and seeing him for the first time not be in tears: that is paramount,” Jenny Gordon, manager of Neurodiagnostics, said.

Rebecca Owen said the EEG technicians, Jimmy Najia and Ivana Gavran-Danilyuk, who worked with him were compassionate.

“It was so funny to him when they were like, ‘Come on, Hulk,’” Rebecca Owen said. “They got on his level like a pediatric department should and just accepted him as the Hulk.”

Joey Owen has been seizure-free for two years but needs to continue to get EEGs every 6 months to a year. His mother said the Hulk will be returning for his next appointment.

“Joey showed us all that no matter what life puts in front of us, we all have the opportunity to be brave,” Gordon said. “We should all be little Joeys. If he could do it, certainly we can.”

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Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.