THE parents of a baby boy who stopped breathing while on holiday have thanked the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) for coming to their son’s aid.
The Hoey family from Sunderland were on a weekend break in the Mungrisdale area of the Lake District on January 15, when little Isaac, then six-weeks-old, suddenly stopped breathing.
Isaac’s mother Helen Hoey, 31, said: “We had been away for the weekend in the Lake District and Isaac had been poorly with a cold. On Monday we had packed the car and were ready to go home when Isaac started crying in his car seat.
“It’s usually normal for a baby to cry, but then he started coughing and his face went blue because he’d stopped breathing. I got him out of the car seat and did CPR but it wasn’t the best because he was across my knee, so I took him back in the house and my husband rang 999 and they talked us through what to do.”
Isaac’s dad Steven Hoey performed CPR and managed to get Isaac breathing again just before paramedics from the North West Ambulance Service and the GNAAS paramedic and doctor team arrived.
Isaac was administered oxygen by the GNAAS team before being airlifted to the paediatric intensive care unit at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, where it was revealed that Isaac was suffering from bronchiolitis.
Isaac was put on a ventilator and spent three days in intensive care followed by four days of rest before he was eventually allowed to come home.
Mrs Hoey said: “GNAAS are obviously a vital service and until you need them, you don’t realise how valuable they are. We couldn’t believe how quickly they came and we are so grateful for everything they did for us. They were really supportive and not only looked after Isaac but us as well by keeping us informed and making sure we were okay.
“Isaac is now absolutely fine.”
Andy Mawson, paramedic and director of operations at GNAAS, was on board the aircraft that day.
He said: “Mum and dad deserve a lot of praise keeping calm during what was a horrific ordeal for them. Without their presence of mind, this could have been a lot worse.
“We were able to get Isaac not just to the nearest hospital, but to the one best suited to his needs. In this case, that happened to be sixty miles away over the Pennines. Getting him there in under 20 minutes saved him time and perhaps saved his life. We’re just happy to have been able to help.”
Since the incident, Isaac’s family have fundraised for GNAAS through a raffle and bake sale, and donations in lieu of gifts at Isaac’s Christening.
Mrs Hoey has also purchased four tickets for the annual Air Angels Charity Ball which takes place on June 16 at the Hilton Newcastle Gateshead.
She said: “The tickets for the ball are for myself, my husband, my sister and my brother in law. We decided to buy the tickets as it’s another way to help with fundraising and a different type of night out.”
GNAAS is funded entirely by donations. Last year, it needed to raise £5.1m to survive. To find out more, or to buy tickets for the ball, please visit www.gnaas.com or call 01325-487263.