Little boy survived three cardiac arrests and difficult 12-hour surgery

May 30, 2019  17:18

A couple watched their son almost die three times in a terrifying ordeal that ended in their boy being given a two per cent chance of survival.

Riley Dibble was born with a heart defect and went into cardiac arrest as soon as he was delivered at a hospital in Birmingham last year.

His parents Beth and Jordan Dibble, from Knutton, in Staffordshire, said their boy was an hour old when he went in for open heart surgery.

Three months later he suffered another cardiac arrest and had to undergo emergency surgery, during which his heart once again stopped pumping blood around his body.

However, young Riley beat the odds and survived the health crises, StokeOnTrentLive reports.

After Riley's first cardiac arrest he was kept away from his parents for five hours - and then it was another five days before they were able to hold him for the first time.

The newborn was discharged after a week and brought home to  Knutton  by his proud mum and dad, and big sister Millie, aged three.

Yet his struggles were far from over.

Three months later Riley began to feel poorly and turned an ashen, grey colour. His parents called 111, and given his history, an ambulance was sent out to take him to the Royal Stoke University Hospital.

On arrival, Riley was immediately taken to be resuscitated after suffering a cardiac arrest.

Beth, aged 23, said: “My poor baby was gasping, his eyes were glazed, he was recessing when he was breathing and making these awful groaning noises.

"A doctor told us he needed to go to Birmingham Children’s Hospital, but we were left with an awful decision – Riley needed intubation [inserting a tube into his windpipe to maintain an open airway].

"The doctor didn’t think he would survive it, but if he wasn’t intubated he wouldn’t make it to Birmingham. Obviously we went with intubation.

“We were blue lighted to Birmingham, where there were about 30 different people waiting for us, talking about how my baby was going to survive.

“Riley’s heart function was practically non-existent. His heart was failing, you could tell just by looking at him. Riley was dying right in front of our eyes.”

Doctors decided Riley needed a heart catheterisation – which sends dye round the heart to check its function – to be able to diagnose the problem.

But his chances of surviving that procedure were put at just 50-50.

He did come through it, and it was discovered that Riley had pulmonary artery stenosis, a heart defect which means he has narrow arteries, making it difficult for blood to reach the lungs and pick up oxygen.

It is extremely rare for a baby to suffer two heart defects. In fact only one similar case had been recorded, in America.

Riley needed an immediate operation – but a surgeon told his parents it was highly unlikely that he would survive, given his exhausted state after suffering three cardiac arrests.

Jordan, aged 24, said: “The surgeon said we have got two options, take him back to intensive care and let him go, let him die in our arms; or do the surgery – but he said he was pretty certain Riley would die on the operating table.

“I wanted a number for his chances and the surgeon said two per cent.

“It was an awful decision to have to make on the spot, but he had fought this far, who are we to say. We thought that if we hadn’t given him the best chance to survive, we would spend the rest of our lives wondering, ‘what if’.”

Surgeons then fought for 12 hours to save Riley’s life – and miraculously, the tot survived the operation.

He suffered a stroke during surgery and an MRI scan revealed that some parts of his brain are undeveloped – but given his age, it is hoped that his brain will repair itself.

Riley, now aged 11 months, will need surgery again in the future, but as he approaches his first birthday that his family never thought they would be able to celebrate, Riley is a happy baby, with a near constant smile on his face.

Now, after his remarkable fight for life, his parents have nominated him for a Sentinel Our Heroes award, as a child of courage.

Beth said: “When Riley came round on the ventilator he was smiling straight away.

“Riley is a living, breathing miracle, one heartbeat at a time, who is continuously happy no matter what life throws at him. He’s our heart warrior.”

Source: mirror.co.uk

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