A schoolboy who was revived after around 25 minutes submerged in a river brought tears to the eyes of his rescuers when he visited them to show his gratitude.
The story of Kacper Krauze, 13, of Appleby, has been described as a “miracle” after he walked into the Great North Air Ambulance Service’s (GNAAS) Cumbria base to meet some of those who saved his life.
GNAAS worked alongside fire crews, police, ambulance and staff from an Appleby medical practice in the aftermath of the incident, which happened on February 26.
Dr Jeff Doran, GNAAS doctor, said Kacper was pulled from the river in cardiac arrest and that only the coordinated response from all involved gave him any chance of survival.
He added: “From the minute we closed the doors on the helicopter to us arriving in the emergency department, Kacper had completely uninterrupted chest compressions and we know that is one of the keys to survival in cardiac arrest.”
Another key factor was the Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) treatment he received in hospital in Newcastle.
The Freeman Hospital in Newcastle is the only hospital in the North-East, Cumbria and Yorkshire to offer ECMO.
Dr Doran said: “ECMO is where blood is taken out of the body, warmed and provided with oxygen before being delivered back to the body using a pump machine.”
On Tuesday, Kacper visited the charity’s Langwathby base with his mother Wioletta and father Marek.
Mrs Krauze said: “Every day it’s a little bit better. It’s like a miracle he survived. Thank you very much to the air ambulance. Absolutely wonderful job. Very, very professional people.”
The family met six of the GNAAS team who were involved either on the aircraft or in their other roles in the region’s hospitals. As well as Dr Doran, they met doctors Dion Arbid, Amy Gospel and Theo Weston, paramedic Steve Miles and pilot Phil Lambert.
Dr Gospel, aircrew doctor and clinical fellow in paediatric intensive care at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, was part of the team responsible for delivering the ECMO therapy in hospital.
After meeting Kacper and his family again last week, she said: “Kacper has a truly inspiring story of amazing outcomes possible from the bleakest of circumstances. To see Kacper and his parents today, reminds us all of why we do what we do.”
Steve Miles, GNAAS paramedic, said: “I think this is what the job’s all about. This is what we aim to achieve with every patient. You want a good outcome and to meet somebody like this.
“Last time I saw Kacper he was being resuscitated, he had no signs of life, and to meet him, talk to him, see him walking, is brilliant, absolutely fantastic.”
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GNAAS wishes to recognise the substantial involvement of all involved in Kacper’s rescue, from the fire, police and ambulance staff on scene, through to all those in hospital and any one else who played a part in this remarkable team effort.