Health

Parents of boy whose heart stopped for 19 hours were stunned when it started beating again

DENVER — The family of a 4-year-old boy whose heart was arrested hours earlier gathered at Children’s Hospital Colorado last month to say their final goodbyes to Cartier McDaniel.

Some slept in the waiting room while not praying at Cartier’s bedside after doctors told his parents, Destiny Anderson and Dominique McDaniel, that it was only a matter of time before his life support device is no longer capable of maintaining his body in working order. correctly without a heartbeat.

All attempts to restart his heart had failed.

“It was the worst moment of my life. The whole hospital room was spinning. I was shaking. I couldn’t believe this was happening,” Anderson said.

But for Anderson and McDaniel, it’s nothing short of a medical miracle: their young son’s heart has started beating on its own again, 19 hours after stopping.

Anderson and McDaniel said doctors told them they did not have a scientific or medical explanation for why Cartier’s heart started beating again. Doctors on Cartier’s medical team were not available for comment this week, the hospital said.

But McDaniel said he had a spiritual explanation: “It was God. »

Cartier’s ordeal began on April 8, when he led a fever that Anderson treated with Tylenol.

“I thought it was a cold and it would go away,” she said.

The next day, his condition worsened. His hands and feet became cold, his mouth turned blue, he sweated, dark circles formed around his eyes, and his breathing was difficult.

Cartier remains hospitalized.Courtesy of Destin Anderson

He drank a lot of water that day and stayed in bed, which Anderson found strange because he is generally an active and curious child.

She knew something was seriously wrong when Cartier wet the bed, she said.

She called the nursing department at Children’s Hospital Colorado, who, after hearing the symptoms, recommended she go to the hospital immediately.

During diagnostic tests for diseases such as diabetes, Cartier’s eyes rolled to the back of his head and doctors could not find a pulse, Anderson and McDaniel said. They said he had suffered a cardiac arrest.

They began administering CPR, to no avail. Anderson watched helplessly.

“The doctors were pressing on his chest,” she said. “I started crying and becoming hysterical.”

Medical staff escorted her out of the emergency room.

According to the National Institutes of Health, cardiac arrest occurs when the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops pumping and blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs.

It causes between 300,000 and 450,000 deaths in the United States each year, according to the agency.

Survivors of cardiac arrest can suffer brain damage and damage to internal organs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Cartier, left, is a “natural protector,” his parents say.Courtesy of Destin Anderson

In 2019, British hiker Audrey Schoeman, 34, survived what doctors called the longest cardiac arrest in Spanish history after her heart stopped for six hours in a snowstorm , according to Today.com.

Unlike McDaniel, she did not receive immediate medical attention, but somehow survived.

Emergency room doctors had diagnosed McDaniel with an infection caused by group A streptococcus bacteria, or Strep A. Cartier’s parents said they did not know what infection their son may have suffered from beyond that description, although Strep A can cause a variety of infections ranging from strep throat to scarlet fever.

The disease led to sepsis – the body’s extreme response to infection – they said.

Each year in the United States, more than 75,000 infants and children develop serious sepsis, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Nearly 7,000 of them die, more than the 1,800 children who die of cancer each year, according to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, a pediatric cancer charity.

When Cartier’s heart stopped, doctors placed him on a form of life support in which blood is pumped through an artificial lung, where oxygen is added and carbon dioxide is removed, explained his parents.

The treatment temporarily keeps a patient alive even if their heart isn’t working, but doctors must determine whether organs and other body parts will recover, said Dr. Michael Fundora, a pediatric cardiologist at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, who was not involved in Cartier’s care and did not review his medical records.

Medical staff spent 30 minutes trying to resuscitate McDaniel as his blood was attacked by Strep A, his parents said. Cartier was then transferred to the intensive care unit.

“At this point, we’re just praying for the best,” Anderson said.

Doctors told the family that Cartier likely would not survive.

“He was on life support, but it was only a matter of time before the machine stopped working,” doctors said.

Cartier’s long-term prognosis is unclear, a medical expert said.Courtesy of Destin Anderson

That night, other family members went to the hospital to say goodbye to the 4-year-old, described by his parents as a “natural protector” who looked forward to research adventures thrills, like finding spiders and playing arcade games.

“I’m not going to lie, I had my doubts that everything would go well. I’m human,” said Anderson, who has six other children, three of them with McDaniel. “I ask myself, ‘How am I going to tell my children that I’m not bringing their brother home?’ »

“I was trying to make peace that this is what God wants.”

Drawing on her faith, she said she asked God to be with her son.

Shortly after, Cartier’s heart began to beat.

Initially, doctors thought Cartier would be blind because the part of the brain that regulates vision was damaged by lack of oxygen, his parents said. But doctors later changed their prognosis and said he would retain his vision, they said.

He remains on dialysis and breathing tubes and has undergone several skin grafts after the infection deteriorated his skin.

Daniel A. Velez, division chief of cardiothoracic surgery at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, said quickly moving Colorado hospital staff apparently managed to provide Cartier’s brain with a level of oxygen that gave a chance of survival.

“Breathing has resumed somewhat,” said Velez, who was not involved in Cartier’s care and did not review his medical records. “It was a remarkable recovery.”

Velez said Cartier’s long-term prognosis is unclear because the ability of a child’s developing brain and kidneys to bounce back is often unpredictable.

He may also have suffered damage to other organs, Fundora said.

For now, his parents said, there is no timetable for Cartier’s release from the hospital.

Anderson said she blamed herself for not taking him to the hospital sooner, as McDaniel suggested.

“If I had waited longer, it would have progressed,” she said. “I waited too long.”

News Source : www.nbcnews.com
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