Baby Boy Defies Doctors By Waking From 5-Day Coma And Smiling At Father
A baby boy who suffered a cardiac arrest defied the odds by waking up from a five-day coma and smiling up at his delighted father.
Stuart and Emma Labuschagne had been braced for their 14-week old son to never again open his eyes after he was rushed to hospital in the early hours of March 16, when he began frantically gasping for air.
Baby Michael’s heart stopped and paramedics worked to save his life, though mum Emma admitted she ‘did not think Michael would make it through.’
Recalling the terrifying ordeal, Emma said:
At 14 weeks and three days old he went to bed like any other baby. But at 5am he had suffered heart failure. Words cannot begin to describe the pain we felt in that moment.
We watched our baby breathless, gasping for air while his heart stopped and paramedics worked to save his life.
I am so so blessed to be here telling you that he survived.
Thankfully, the young boy made it through the out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, an ordeal which only seven percent of patients survive, though he remained in a coma for the following five days.
He regained consciousness on March 21 and opened his eyes to gaze up at his parents, who were overwhelmed with emotion and happiness. The joyous couple said the first thing Michael did was smile at his dad.
You can see the moment he opened his eyes here:
After Michael awoke, Emma and Stuart were warned their child could have suffered brain damage, though a scan revealed that wasn’t the case.
However, his parents soon learned the cardiac arrest was the result of a rare heart tumour Michael has, known as cardiac fibroma. Though the majority of cardiac tumours in children are benign, they can still be life threatening because the heart is such an essential organ.
Fibromas can obstruct blood flow and are often associated with arrhythmia and ventricular tachycardia, which is when the heart beats faster than normal.
Michael was fitted with a pacemaker, which should help control the rhythm of his heart, but because he is so small the device restricts his movement, making him unable to sit up or support his own head. The pacemaker is also struggling to read the baby’s heart rate, meaning it potentially will not work as it is supposed to.
Emma commented on the pacemaker, saying:
It does hold him back. It’s as big as the size of the palm of my hand and it has sharp edges.
Putting that inside a baby is quite uncomfortable for them. But he is amazing, you wouldn’t know looking at him that he is fighting this.
He’s a lovely little baby – it’s hard to believe he’s going through what he is. He’s a miracle.
The parents are currently raising money to pay for surgery for the young boy, who is now 10 months old. However, they explained the treatment is not available in the UK, and unfortunately is not routinely funded by the NHS.
Instead, they plan to travel to Boston Children’s Hospital, in the US, for the treatment as the cardiac surgeons there are the ‘best in the world.’ The hospital has quoted them $147,000 (£116,000) for the procedure and the family will also need to pay for flights and accommodation.
Every day is an unknown, until we can get his fibroma removed.
The cardiac surgeons at Boston… have done this operation several times.
The mother went on:
They are confident that they can drastically improve, or even cure, his condition by resecting the tumour.
They want to operate within six months as his heart will be a good size. The fundraiser is doing really well so far, but it’s still quite early days.
You can donate to the family’s GoFundMe page here.
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