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Mother hails ‘amazing’ medical teams who saved her baby boy’s life

Two-month-old Harvey James is now ‘thriving’ at home in Upper Cambourne, Cambridgeshire.

The mother of a baby boy who stopped breathing for five minutes after birth has praised the “amazing” medical teams who helped save her son’s life.

Emily James, 36, said Harvey, now two months old, is “thriving” at home in Upper Cambourne, Cambridgeshire.

He was born two weeks premature by emergency Caesarean section after a possible infection.

Admin worker Mrs James said Harvey, who weighed 6lb 3oz, was “pale and floppy” when he was delivered and did not breathe for five minutes, according to medical notes.

Paediatricians have since told her they believe it may have been up to 10 minutes of CPR before his first breath, she said.

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Chris and Emily James with their son Harvey, then seven days old, in the neonatal intensive care unit at the Rosie Hospital in Cambridge (Family handout/PA)

“It felt like forever until he finally took that precious breath,” she said.

He was rushed from Hinchingbrooke Hospital near Huntingdon, where he was born, to the Rosie Hospital in Cambridge for life-saving cooling treatment.

Harvey, who was diagnosed with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy caused by a lack of oxygen and blood to his brain, was wrapped in a special jacket similar to a wine cooler for three days to reduce his body temperature.

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Two-month-old Harvey James is now at home and ‘thriving’, his mother said (Joe Giddens/PA)

It is designed to prevent babies from developing long-term brain damage.

He was then re-warmed to his core temperature and spent further time in the neonatal intensive care unit, with both his mother and his father, Chris, a 38-year-old financial adviser, at his side thanks to accommodation provided by the Sick Children’s Trust.

Harvey, who was born in September this year, was able to go home 12 days later, in October.

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Emily and Chris James said medics at Hinchingbrooke Hospital and the Rosie Hospital in Cambridge saved their son’s life (Joe Giddens/PA)

“We are delighted to have him at home and to be enjoying our time as a family of three,” said Mrs James. “He’s been such a brave, courageous and determined little boy.

“We are extremely lucky, he’s our superstar.

“He is our biggest achievement and is immensely precious to us.”

She said he is gaining weight and is doing “really well”, other than slight hearing loss on his right side.

“I don’t know if in the future there might be other things that come up, but at the minute he seems to be thriving and that’s a strong positive,” she added.

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Baby Harvey James during his time in the neonatal intensive care unit at the Rosie Hospital in Cambridge (Family handout/PA)

Harvey’s parents are now looking forward to many milestones with their firstborn.

“This year we’re celebrating his first Christmas, which we’re so excited for,” said Mrs James. “We will be spending it with both our families and cannot wait to spoil him.”

Harvey will have check-ups every six months until his second birthday.

Mrs James said medical staff saved her son’s life, adding: “They were amazing.”

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Harvey James underwent 72 hours of cooling treatment at the Rosie Hospital in Cambridge to prevent long-term brain damage when he did not breathe for more than five minutes after being born (Family handout/PA)

Fran Stephens, head of midwifery at North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Hinchingbrooke Hospital, said: “We are so pleased to hear baby Harvey is doing well after his initial complications at birth.

“In these cases it is vital our staff act quickly to ensure babies receive the right treatment in order to minimise any issues caused by lack of oxygen.

“On behalf of the maternity team at Hinchingbrooke, I would like to wish the Jameses a very happy family Christmas.”

Consultant neonatologist Sue Broster, who treated Harvey during his stay at the Rosie, said: “We are delighted that Harvey is making such excellent progress after such a challenging start in life.

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Emily James said her two-month-old son Harvey is ‘doing really well’ and gaining weight (Joe Giddens/PA)

“On behalf of the whole team at Addenbrooke’s and Ants (the acute neonatal transfer service), we wish them a wonderful Christmas together, and a happy and healthy new year.”

The Jameses are now fundraising to support the Sick Children’s Trust’s Christmas appeal to raise £13,230 to support families across the charity’s 10 “Homes from Home” around the country over the festive period.

To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/campaign/mychristmaswish or call the team on 020 7638 4066.

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