A premature baby whose heart twice stopped beating for a total of 22 minutes on the
operating table was brought back to life in a medical “miracle”, according to doctors.
Lacey Sherriff underwent emergency surgery right after birth at St George’s Hospital in South London in 2017 after developing an often-fatal bowel condition.
Her mum, Louise, had been rushed to hospital five days earlier because she was suffering pre-eclampsia and Lacey’s brother Alfie, now five, was also premature, at 32 weeks.
Lacey was born early at 27 weeks via emergency Caesarean and had to undergo surgery to treat the condition known as necrotising enterocolitis, or NEC. About a third of babies who have surgery for the condition die.
Surgeons had to interrupt removing part of her bowel to start resuscitation. Lacey’s
heart stopped due to excessive blood loss.
It began beating after 12 minutes, but stopped again for a further 10. Her circulation ground to a halt and she went “grey”.
About a dozen staff were involved – some performing CPR as the little girl, who weighed 639 grams, went into cardiac arrest.
Lacey was pumped with adrenaline and blood products, receiving more than five times the amount of blood in her body.
At one stage she was blessed by a priest and her parents were told she was unlikely to survive.
Luckily, Lacey lived, but deteriorated again after 13 days and needed further surgery. She was finally discharged last February after 111 days in hospital.
“We didn’t think she’d survive surgery and thought we’d be registering Lacey’s birth and death certificates at the same time,” Mrs Sherriff said.
“She is going to be a healthy little girl who has been given an opportunity to get to her first birthday.”
Lacey celebrated her first birthday recently and was reunited with those who helped save her life including consultant paediatric surgeon Zahid Mukhtar and his colleague, Dr Hesham Elagami, who performed CPR.
In fact, Lacey’s parents only just learnt how long her heart had stopped for when they arranged to return to St George’s this week to thank staff.
Lacey’s father Phil said “it’s phenomenal” his daughter is alive today.
“She is a very chilled little baby,” he said.
“It’s unbelievable, the journey we have been through.”
Mr Mukhtar said it “doesn’t seem” like Lacey received any long-term damage from her health problems.
“It’s just the most miraculous thing,” he said. “I have never seen anything like it.”
Earlier this week, a Melbourne couple revealed their heartbreak over losing all nine of their babies either stillborn or miscarried.
Samantha Rowe and her partner Paul Lyons have detailed their devastation after their latest baby Noah was stillborn on October 6.
It follows a long path of grief for the couple – who first tried for a baby in 2014, Ms Rowe said on her GoFundMe page.