It's every parent's worst nightmare: the heart-stopping moment your child stops breathing. Fortunately for one UK mother, her particular story had a happy ending thanks to some quick thinking and the help of an inexpensive CPR course.
Helen Hoey recently shared her story in hopes that other parents can not only spot the symptoms of a serious respiratory illness but also see the value in learning CPR. CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, is a procedure that combines chest compressions with artificial ventilation to restore blood circulation and breathing.
Little Isaac Hoey was only six weeks old when Helen, 32, and her husband Steve, 37, experienced every parent's fear. Last winter as they were packing up their holiday home, Isaac stopped breathing not long after he began showing common flu-like symptoms. Helen immediately began CPR and rushed him inside to where Steve was waiting. Following her instructions, Steve took over while Helen called for an ambulance.
Isaac was flown by air ambulance to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Newcastle where he was diagnosed with bronchiolitis – a common illness of the lower respiratory tract that can be especially serious for young babies, and which can develop from passing on a cold. Most cases of bronchiolitis are relatively mild and clear up within two to three weeks without treatment, however, some cases - like with Isaac, who turned blue and stopped breathing for a period - children can suffer from severe symptoms and require hospital treatment.
Fortunately, Isaac, now eleven months, made a full recovery - although, it was touch and go for a little while. He spent three days in the intensive care unit and five additional days in the hospital before he was able to be sent home with his parents.
Helen nearly missed her opportunity to learn CPR. In fact, it was actually one of her friends who was enrolled in the course. Fortunately, they asked her to go along that day, and that was the moment that changed everything. Helen admitted that she never thought she would need to learn something as extreme as CPR, but as it turned out, it was one of the best last-minute decisions she has ever made.
"I thought ‘when am I ever going to need that?’" she recalled. "Like everybody else I thought I would never need to use it but I was wrong. It was the best £20 I have ever spent, it saved Isaac’s life."