Parents’ horror after watching their ‘miracle’ boy suffer THREE cardiac arrests

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A baby boy has been branded a ‘miracle’ after he survived three cardiac arrests and defied the odds to pull through an emergency procedure. 

Riley Dibble, born with a heart defect, suffered an almost fatal cardiac arrest just moments after he was delivered last year.

Doctors rushed Riley into theatre for emergency open heart surgery when he was only an hour old. But his ordeal was far from over. 

Riley, who is now 11 months, suffered another cardiac arrest three months later and was whisked to hospital in an ambulance.

He suffered a third cardiac arrest during another emergency procedure that he was given just a two per cent chance of surviving.

However, Riley pulled through the op to correct his pulmonary artery stenosis, a defect that caused one of his large arteries to be too narrow. 

His parents, Beth and Jordan, from Staffordshire, have now told of their horror at watching Riley ‘dying in front of our eyes’.

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Riley Dibble, born with a heart defect, suffered an almost fatal cardiac arrest just moments after he was delivered last year

Riley Dibble, born with a heart defect, suffered an almost fatal cardiac arrest just moments after he was delivered last year

Doctors rushed Riley into theatre for emergency open heart surgery when he was only an hour old (pictured with his mother Beth, father Jordan, and sister Millie)

Doctors rushed Riley into theatre for emergency open heart surgery when he was only an hour old (pictured with his mother Beth, father Jordan, and sister Millie)

Ms Dibble, 23, said: ‘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.’ 

A cardiac arrest happens when the heart suddenly stops pumping blood around the body. They are more serious than heart attacks.

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Riley will need surgery again in the future, but has a near-constant smile on his face as he approaches his first birthday.  

Riley, who has a three-year-old sister called Millie, was kept away from his parents for five hours after the initial surgery.

It was five days before his parents were allowed to hold him. He was discharged from hospital a week after he was born. 

Three months later, Riley began to feel poorly and turned an ashen, grey colour. His parents immediately called 111.

Operators made the decision to send an ambulance to take him straight to the Royal Stoke University Hospital.

On arrival, medics noted how he had suffered a cardiac arrest and needed to be resuscitated, StokeOnTrentLive reports.  

Riley, who is now 11 months, suffered another cardiac arrest three months later and was whisked to hospital in an ambulance (pictured in hospital)

Riley, who is now 11 months, suffered another cardiac arrest three months later and was whisked to hospital in an ambulance (pictured in hospital)

He suffered a third cardiac arrest during another emergency procedure to correct his pulmonary artery stenosis, meaning one of his large arteries is too narrow

He suffered a third cardiac arrest during another emergency procedure to correct his pulmonary artery stenosis, meaning one of his large arteries is too narrow

Riley will need surgery again in the future, but has a near-constant smile on his face as he approaches his first birthday

Riley will need surgery again in the future, but has a near-constant smile on his face as he approaches his first birthday

Ms Dibble, 23, said: 'Riley is a living, breathing miracle, one heartbeat at a time, who is continuously happy no matter what life throws at him' (they are pictured together)

Ms Dibble, 23, said: ‘Riley is a living, breathing miracle, one heartbeat at a time, who is continuously happy no matter what life throws at him’ (they are pictured together)

Ms Dibble said: ‘My poor baby was gasping, his eyes were glazed. He was recessing when he was breathing and making these awful groaning noises.’

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A doctor told the parents Riley needed to be transferred to Birmingham Children’s Hospital. He needed a tube inserting into his windpipe to keep his airways open.

Recalling that moment, Ms Dibble said: ‘The doctor didn’t think he would survive it, but if he wasn’t intubated he wouldn’t make it to Birmingham. 

WHAT IS A CARDIAC ARREST?

A cardiac arrest occurs when the heart suddenly stops pumping blood around the body, which is usually due to a problem with electrical signals in the organ.

This causes the brain to be starved of oxygen, which results in sufferers not breathing and losing consciousness.

In the UK, more than 30,000 cardiac arrests occur a year outside of hospital, compared to over 356,000 in the US.

Cardiac arrests are different to heart attacks, with the latter occurring when blood supply to the heart muscle is cut off due to a clot in one of the coronary arteries. 

Common causes include heart attacks, heart disease and heart muscle inflammation.

Drug overdose and losing a large amount of blood can also be to blame.

Giving an electric shock through the chest wall via a defibrillator can start the heart again. 

In the meantime, CPR can keep oxygen circulating around the body.

‘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.’

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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 because he was so weak.

However, Riley did pull through and it was discovered that he had pulmonary artery stenosis.

The heart defect means he has narrow arteries, making it difficult for blood to reach the lungs and pick up oxygen.  

Riley needed an immediate operation – but a surgeon, once again, told his parents it was highly unlikely that he would survive.

‘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,’ Mr Dibble, 24, said.

‘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. He survived – but suffered a stroke during surgery.  



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