A newborn with a dangerously high heart rate was dunked into a bucket of ice water by doctors trying to save her life.
Medics believed the shock of the freezing water might restart her heart, which had risen to 320 beats per minute. Little Holly Hutchinson had been rushed to the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle 10 minutes before midnight on New Year’s Eve, at just 12 days old.
The relieved parents have released pictures of their baby girl in hospital to announce they will be running the Great North Run for the Sick Children’s Trust . The trust organized a place for Holly’s parents and older sister Emily to stay while she was in hospital. Ian, the father, 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.’
Holly was born on December 19 last year and became ill on Boxing Day, being diagnosed with viral meningitis. She was discharged from hospital 48 hours later but on New Year’s Eve, paediatric nurse Jenny spotted her baby’s condition had deteriorated. Holly was taken to the Sunderland Royal Hospital where 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. Ian 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 not something any parent wants to see. ‘It was so hard knowing there was nothing we could do.’ The parents were taken into a side room at Freeman Hospital while doctors tried to save Holly’s life. Just 10 minutes later, they were told her heart had gone back to its normal rhythm and rate.