4-year-old boy turns into the Hulk to quell his fears of medical intervention in Beaumont Royal Oak

ROYAL OAK, Mich. – A 4-year-old boy who was due for a medical procedure at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, transformed into the Hulk to quell his fears.

Joey Owen needed an electroencephalogram (EEG), a test that detects brain wave abnormalities.

“He was in character from start to finish,” said Jimmy Najia, a licensed EEG technician in the clinical neurophysiology department. “He walked in the door with his hands up as the Hulk and that’s how he left.”

Joey Owen has 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 flares up during sleep.

“He’s had about six EEGs in his life,” Joey’s mother, Rebecca Owen of Taylor, said. “Because he was so small when they started, he was completely traumatized. He got to the level where he should be wrapped up like a burrito and held down. He was screaming and crying until he fell asleep so much he was exasperated.

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


‘I’m the Hulk, mum. We have this’


“Right before his last intervention, 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 in the car the whole way.”

Joey Owen (Owen family)

Joey Owen said, “I’m the Hulk, mom. We understood”, before entering the hospital.

“I can’t even explain how I felt because the past times I had to wear it crying,” Rebecca Owen said. “For him, going in alone was a big problem. He was going to go out there and be the bravest this time.

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

“This mother has been watching her son have seizures since he was six months old and seeing him for the first time not crying: it’s essential,” said Jenny Gordon, head of Neurodiagnostics.

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

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

Joey Owen has been seizure-free for two years, but must continue to have EEGs every 6 months to a year. His mother said Hulk would be back for his next date.

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

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