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ICE, ICE BABY; LITTLE BATTLER DEFIES THE ODDS; At two weeks old, Micah's heart raced to 300 beats per minute and the only way medics could save him was to plunge him face first into freezing cold water.


BRAVE baby Micah Smithers's life was saved when doctors dunked him head-first into icy water at just two weeks old.

The now-seven-month-old has a rare condition that caused his heart to race at 300 beats per minute - more than twice as fast as normal.

The first time it happened he was just a fortnight old and medics managed to shock his heart back into a normal rhythm using freezing water.

A week later, Micah fell ill again and doctors warned Ali and husband Sam they didn't know if he would survive.

In a last desperate attempt to keep him alive, Micah was hooked up to a heart and lung bypass machine, which circulates the blood outside the body, to give his organs time to recover.

Now, Micah, from Glasgow, is a "wee smiler" who is trying to find his feet.

To thank the medics who saved him, Ali is gearing up to run 10k at the Great Scottish Run in September, in aid of Glasgow Children's Hospital Charity.

The 32-year-old said: "Without the hospital and all of the amazing staff, we wouldn't have our baby boy.

"It doesn't bear thinking about what would have happened if he had arrested at home. We're just so relieved that he is healthy and well."

The ordeal began on July 10 last year. He started to go off his feeds, was vomiting and his skin looked pale. Ali thought the two-week-old was suffering from reflux and took him to the GP, who sounded his heart and immediately sent him to A&E. By this time, monitors showed his heart rate was dangerously high.

Ali, who works at the hospital, said: "They took him into resus and put him head first into icy water. It sounds terrible but it's the standard treatment.

"It shocks the heart back into a normal rhythm. He was only in the water for a few seconds."

Doctors carried out tests, which confirmed Micah has supraventricular tachycardia (SVT). It's caused by a problem with the heart's electrical system, which controls the heart rhythm. About 75 per cent of babies will grow out of it by the time they hit two years old.

Not knowing if it would happen again, Ali bought a stethoscope to check Micah's heart rate.

A week later, when Micah started to look unwell again, she used it to listen to his heart, which was racing out of control, and took him to A&E. Two hours after they arrived, Micah's heart stopped and doctors had to carry out life-saving CPR.

Ali said: "They tried ice on his face again. They used ice-packs, which should have had the same effect."

When that didn't work, they used a drug to normalise his heart rhythm.

Later that day, his condition worsened and he was hooked up to an ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) machine which oxygenates the blood outside the body.

Remarkably, after three days, Micah came off ECMO and was back home after 11 days in hospital.

Ali said: "He's made a remarkable recovery. He's definitely a wee smiler."

To thank the hospital for saving Micah, Ali and Sam plan to run a fundraising 10k. Ali said: "This is our small way of saying thank you to all the staff who looked after Micah."

To take part the 10k for Glasgow Children's Hospital Charity, contact 0141 212 8750 or visit

Without the amazing hospital staff, we wouldn't have our baby boy ali smithers


FIGHTER Little Micah in hospital

ALL SMILES Micah with his relieved mum, Ali

THAT'S MY BOY Ali is amazed at Micah's recovery. Michael Traill
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Mar 13, 2018
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