Medics saved a new-born baby whose heart rate had risen to 320 beats per minute after trying to shock the organ into a normal rhythm by dunking her head in a bucket of ice cold water, her grateful parents said.
When that drastic treatment failed, Holly Hutchinson was rushed to the Freeman Hospital, Newcastle, where powerful drugs were administered and 10 minutes before midnight on New Year’s Eve, the 12-day-old baby stabilised.
As fireworks went off outside, stunned parents Jenny and Ian Hutchinson were given the happy news that Holly was recovering.
Now the pair are going to take part in the Great North Run to raise funds for the Sick Children’s Trust, which helped them by giving them a place to stay at the hospital, and the Children’s Heart Unit Fund (CHUF).
Holly was born on December 19 and became ill on Boxing Day, being diagnosed with viral meningitis, and was discharged from hospital 48 hours later.
On New Year’s Eve, her mother who is a paediatric nurse, spotted her baby’s condition had deteriorated and took her to the Sunderland Royal Hospital.
There, her heart rate climbed to 320 beats per minute in an abnormal rhythm caused by an infection in her heart.
Doctors tried to shock her heart into the correct rhythm and resorted to dunking her head into a bucket of ice cold water for five seconds.
After several attempts to shock her heart using other methods failed, she was rushed to the Freeman Hospital where the process was repeated and she was intubated.
Her father said: “Right in front of our eyes, we could see the blood retracting from Holly’s limbs to try and protect her core, making her go grey.
“It was absolutely horrendous to see our newborn become so ill, so quickly. Watching her being submerged in the water and be prodded with needles like a pin cushion is something no parent wants to see.
“It was so hard knowing there was nothing we could do.
“When we arrived at Freeman Hospital we were taken into a side room and left there while they tried to save Holly’s life.
“We felt like we were there for an age, but we knew she was in the best possible place.
“Holly is a little legend, and she started to fight back after they shocked her heart and various other procedures.
“It was only 10 minutes until midnight on New Year’s Eve when we received the news that her heart had gone back into its normal rhythm and was stable.
“Suddenly fireworks were going off and people were cheering – it was surreal.
“If we’d arrived 20 minutes later, Holly might not be here today.”
Despite the bleak initial outlook, Holly made an incredible recovery spending just 10 days there before being discharged home to Gateshead.
Mr Hutchinson was full of praise for the help they received from the Sick Children’s Trust, as it meant they could stay nearby while Holly, who has an older sister called Emily, recovered.
He said: “It’s completely underappreciated how important it is to be together as a family when your child’s in hospital.
“Being with Emily and Jen made such a difference, it kept me sane.
“The Sick Children’s Trust takes away the stress of being separated so you don’t have to worry about it.
“You can just focus on getting your child home.”
He said training for the Great North Run has been tough, adding: “But if Holly can hold on with a heartbeat of 320, a half marathon should be pretty simple right?”
To support his fundraising, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ian-hutchinson35