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Smiling baby's life saved after doctors dunk him head-first into FREEZING WATER to shock his heart

Mirror logo Mirror 13/03/2018 Claire Elliot
Little Micah Smithers is now a smiling seven-month-old © Michael Traill Little Micah Smithers is now a smiling seven-month-old

A two-week-old baby's life was saved after doctors used freezing water to shock his heart back into a normal rhythm.

Little Micah Smithers was rushed to hospital after his heart began racing at 300 beats per minute - more than twice as fast as normal.

The youngster was taken to the resuscitation area, where medics dunked him head-first into icy water in a bid to shock the organ.

In doing so, they managed to get his heart back into a normal rhythm.

a person sitting on a bed: Credits: Michael Traill © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Michael Traill

However, a week after the terrifying incident, Micah fell ill again. Doctors warned his mum, Ali, from Glasgow, Scotland, and her husband, Sam, that they didn’t know if the little boy 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, the Daily Record reports.

Fortunately, the treatment worked. Now, the youngster - who suffers from a rare condition that causes the heart to race - is seven months old and trying to find his feet.

“He’s made a remarkable recovery," said Ali. "He’s definitely a wee smiler.”'

a person smiling for the camera: Credits: Michael Traill © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Michael Traill

To thank the medics who saved Micah, the 32-year-old mum is gearing up to run 10k at the Great Scottish Run in September. She will do so in aid of Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity.

She 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 family's ordeal began on July 10 last year. Then just a fortnight old, Micah started to go off his feeds, was vomiting and his skin looked pale.

a close up of a stuffed animal: Credits: Michael Traill © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Michael Traill

Ali thought the newborn 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, recalled: “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.”

a little boy sitting on a table: Credits: Michael Traill © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Michael Traill

Doctors carried out tests, which confirmed Micah has supraventricular tachycardia (SVT). The condition is 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 the same thing would happen again, Ali bought a stethoscope to check Micah’s heart rate. A week later, when the little boy started to look unwell again, she used it to listen to his heart, which was racing out of control.

She immediately took him to A&E. But 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, medics used a drug to normalise his heart rhythm.

However, later that day, Micah's 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, the youngster was able to come off ECMO. And after only 11 days in hospital, he was back home. 

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

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


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