Saved by 'modern miracle'

2010-02-08 00:00

AN 11-month-old baby girl spent nine days in the Pietermaritzburg Medi-Clinic intensive care unit after falling into a swimming pool on a Sa­turday two weeks ago.

The baby’s father, Warren Price, said he and his wife Cathy took a swim that morning before Cathy left for a party with their other three children. He remained with baby Naomi.

Price said he started cleaning the yard while the baby was asleep, leaving the pool unco­vered as there were no children around.

The father of four said he heard his daughter waking up and he brought her outside to keep an eye on her while he continued with his chores.

“When my baby is around you can hear her babbling away. She’s a busy person who makes her presence felt.

“Just after a while I realised that she was no longer around me, and I checked around the yard and found her floating face-down in the pool.

“She must have been there for maybe 10-30 minutes, I’m not sure,” relates Price.

He said he performed CPR and kept on praying as Naomi had turned blue and cold and had stopped breathing.

“My baby was theoretically dead. At intervals I could feel or see a twitch in her and I continued the CPR. I managed to phone my wife, who arrived in a few minutes, and we rushed off to the hospital,” he said.

Arriving at the emergency ward at Medi Clinic, Naomi was unconscious, stiff, but not responding.

Paediatric surgeon Doctor Frank Bocking was on call and his team got to work immediately, trying to find if there was any damage to the child’s brain cells.

They put Naomi into an induced coma and induced hypothermia for three days, preparing her for a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan.

The induced coma and hypothermia were to drop her body temperature, and her body was put on ice to achieve this purpose.

“The positive sign we had when the child got here was that she was breathing.

“However, it was disturbing to notice that her neurological system was affected.

“We put her under life support to regulate her body function and to decrease the brain metabolism and its demand for oxygen,” Bocking said.

When the brain is deprived of oxygen, brain cells are affected, so the life support minimises further damage to the neurological system.

The MRI scan results came back positive: Naomi had not suffered brain damage.

She was then gradually removed from the life support system and the ICU team kept a close watch on her.

Cathy’s mother was in New Zealand at the time. When she heard about the emergency, she told her friends and they began a prayer chain.

News of the accident was posted on Facebook and the prayer chain was extended far and wide.

… we are so grateful to Dr Bocking and the ICU team for the sterling job they did to save my baby. This really is a modern-day miracle and we praise God we didn’t lose her,” said Cathy.

Naomi, who celebrated her first birthday on Saturday with family and friends, is back to her usual routine at home and under the watchful eye of her parents.

She has been declared absolutely normal in health and neurological development.

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