Mini-Muamba! Like soccer star, toddler makes a 'miraculous' recovery after his heart stops for 39 minutes
01:08 GMT, 9 June 2012
When his heart stopped for 39 minutes, it seemed a lifetime to Zach Hilary’s mother.
She was told to expect the worst as doctors battled to save the two-year-old after he collapsed.
The little boy’s heart did eventually start beating again but he had to be put into an induced coma to reduce swelling on his brain.
Terrifying time: Zach Hilary was given half an hour of CPR before being moved into intensive care, while his family prayed he would come round safely
He said Mummy! Mother Trudy was thrilled to watch her son learn to talk, walk and eat again
His family could hope only for a miracle
as he lay in intensive care. And four months on, they are rejoicing at
his astonishing recovery.
His case echoes that of footballer Fabrice Muamba, who survived after his heart stopped for 78 minutes.
The Bolton star, 24, suffered a cardiac arrest in an FA Cup tie in March but left hospital a month later and is making a remarkable recovery.
When Zach regained consciousness, he had suffered brain damage affecting his speech and movement.
But his mother Trudy, 40, told how he made rapid progress to regain the full abilities of a child his age.
‘It has been amazing to watch,’ said the mother of three. ‘It has been like watching a newborn in fast motion.
‘He’s had to learn to eat, hold a cup, walk and talk all over again, all in the past few months.’ Zach’s story began on January 26 when his mother found him collapsed at their home in York.
Similar: Zach's case echoes that of footballer Fabrice Muamba, pictured, who survived after his heart stopped for 78 minutes
Worrying: The Bolton star, 24, suffered a cardiac arrest in an FA Cup tie in March, pictured, but left hospital a month later and is making a remarkable recovery
She dialled 999 and was helped to perform life-saving mouth-to-mouth by the emergency operator.
At York Hospital, he was given shots of adrenaline to restart his heart while his father Dave, 37, an IT consultant, rushed to join his wife,
‘It felt like an absolute lifetime waiting to find out if he would live or die,’ said Mrs Hilary.
‘The doctors told me to prepare for the worst. It was devastating. The consultant said he wasn’t sure Zach would survive.’
The little boy was moved to Leeds General Infirmary and put into an induced coma as doctors fought to reduce the swelling on his brain.
Recovered: Zach was given three adrenaline shocks before his heart started beating again
Lifesavers: Zach with mother Trudie and paramedics John Jankee and Amy Mackintosh
‘I remember looking at his notes and seeing “Prognosis poor. Prepare family for the worst”. It was horrific,’ said Mrs Hilary.
Nine days later, doctors took Zach off the ventilator but an MRI scan revealed his brain damage and he did not recognise anyone.
‘It was like looking at a shell of my little boy,’ said his mother.
he had physiotherapy and speech therapy and about two weeks later, he
looked at me went “M” like he was trying to say “Mama”. It felt like
such a breakthrough.’
A month after being rushed to hospital, Zach went home to his parents and brothers Jake, five, and six-month-old Scott.
Heartwarming tale: Zach began to speak just a two-and-a-half weeks after he was taken off the ventilator
back to his usual self, he loves playing on the trampoline and he’s
back to fighting with his brother again,’ said Mrs Hilary.
‘I asked the doctors if this was the outcome they expected and they said: “No, it’s a miracle”.’
The cause of Zach’s heart attack remains a mystery although doctors said he could have suffered the same problem as Muamba.
footballer has had a defibrillator fitted but Zach is too young. His
mother said: ‘The doctors told me that I saved his life by performing
She has since been on a course to learn how to resuscitate Zach in case it happens again.
Yesterday, the family was reunited with 999 ambulance staff Amy Mackintosh and John Jankee, who helped save Zach.