The little boy who's been brought back to life three times by his mum
A mum has performed CPR three times on her little boy, who was born weighing just 750 grams. Baby Hunter was born in March 2018 at 25 weeks and faced a fight for his life right from the start.
Mum Chloe Gibbs went into early labour and was rushed to University College London Hospitals at just over 24 weeks into her pregnancy. Doctors worked to slow the Hertfordshire woman's labour and Hunter was born a few days later.
While the average newborn weighs between 6lbs and 9lbs at full term, Hunter came in at little more than a small bag of sugar.
As soon as he was born, Hunter was placed into a neonatal plastic bag to regulate his temperature. "Five, four, three, two, one" - doctors were counting down and "timing everything", Michele De Groot, Chloe's mum, told HertsLive.
Chloe was only allowed a five-second glimpse at her newborn child before he was rushed to intensive care. Michele said: “I was there with 10 neonatal specialists in this small room, it was very scary. They timed everything so that they knew how long it took to get him from each area of the room.
"They were counting down from 15 seconds the minute he was born. They were holding him, then the door shut and that was it.”
It took four attempts to intubate Hunter successfully. Then it was a total of six hours before Chloe could meet him in the neonatal intensive care unit. Chloe’s mother Michele was by her daughter's side throughout the birth and has remained there ever since.
Hunter stayed in UCLH for one month, where his mother and grandmother visited him everyday, travelling back and forth from their home in Hemel Hempstead. Hunter was later transferred to Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) and was placed into an induced paralysis, Michele says, after acquiring a life-threatening infection known as Necrotising Enterocolitis.
Once arriving at GOSH, Hunter was taken for an operation where a long line was inserted through his thigh to his heart in a bid to successfully and more effectively pump fluids around his tiny body as he was unable to feed from his mouth. The operation was performed by doctors at his bedside as he was too weak to be moved from the intensive care unit and into theatre.
As well as fighting infections, Hunter was also subject to 15 blood transfusions and countless other tests during his five-week hospital stay before being transferred to Watford General Hospital. Due to the nature of his birth, the family was told that Hunter could be blind and mentally disabled.
At the point of discharge, he had a feeding intolerance, bone disease, retinopathy of prematurity and chronic lung disease. However, the challenges would not stop there.
Hunter had to be placed on portable oxygen for six months, during this time his mother Chloe had to perform CPR on her newborn child three times to save his life. One incident occurred when Chloe was driving to the supermarket and had to revive her son in the car park. Hunter is now four-years-old and has since developed OCD and Autism traits which have been observed by both family and school teachers after a brief school assessment was completed.
Recent years have alerted many of us to ever-growing stress that our NHS is under, pre and post-pandemic. Waiting times for diagnoses have soared, leaving many people feeling hopeless and disappointed. Despite the increased rates of Autism in the UK as well as increased public awareness of the disorder, it is getting a complete diagnosis that appears to be a frustrating and lengthy process.
Studies have shown that it has taken some parents up to three years to receive a full autism spectrum disorder (ASD) for their child and for this to be registered with the NHS. Once the NHS has recognised this diagnosis, the child can then receive additional help and support in school and other areas of their life.
After informing doctors of his behaviour, Hunter's family were told that the NHS waiting list for an autism diagnosis was two years long. This time frame does not include the six to eight months that it would take for the diagnosis to be registered and for Hunter to begin to receive additional help.
Michele said: "Me and my daughter are both doing a college course for autistic children because there is no help! As a parent you can get overwhelmed by it all and it is extremely frustrating. All that the doctors do is show you a website that tells you what autism is but what they don't understand is that there is no quick fix. People need help."
In a bid to ensure that Hunter would receive the care he needs, Michele decided that the only way to do this and avoid waiting times would be to look at getting a private assessment done for Hunter. "Once the assessment is done and we get the diagnosis, Hunter will be able to get all of the help he needs, like speech therapy. We just want him to have the most normal life possible," she said.
Michele has decided to do a sponsored walk of Snowdonia in Wales on June 15 this year to raise £2,000 for the much needed assessment for Hunter and any additional costs that will likely occur throughout his life. Her gofundme page outlines Hunter's challenges in his short life already, and the family has been overwhelmed by the support they have received.
The gofundme page can be found here.