By Jess Grieveson-Smith
A healthy schoolboy who died for 15 minutes after a sudden cardiac arrest at home is thanking his dad for saving his life.
Tommy Plant, who is just seven, collapsed at his home in Birmingham on January 19 after his heart stopped twice.
Thankfully, his quick thinking dad, Jason Plant, 42, managed to perform CPR for six minutes before paramedics arrived on the scene.
Despite Tommy being clinically dead for 15 minutes, specialist doctors were able to restart his heart.
Following 16 days in hospital, the lucky youngster was able to walk our of Birmingham Children’s Hospital against all the odds – but medics still do not know why the ‘perfectly healthy’ boy went into cardiac arrest.
Dad-of-four Jason, who works in telecommunications, said: “It was terrifying – Tommy was just about clinging to life when the paramedics arrived.
“He’d woken up fine, he had a little cough and cold but nothing major.
“My wife, Alison, 41, had woken him up and said everything was fine at first but just minutes after being downstairs that he turned grey, at that point Alison called 999 for help.
“I was at the shop when she rang, and I ran home – I knew straight away that something was horrendously wrong.
“He looked like he’d had a big shock, he was pale, sweating and becoming unresponsive.
“I pleaded with him to say daddy, to squeeze my hand – he managed it to begin with but I knew he was getting worse.
“Alison then called for an ambulance a second time while I started CPR, it was the scariest moment of our lives.
“He technically died for 15 minutes before his heart restarted.”
Tommy’s three brothers, Harry, 14, George, 17 and Ben, 10, watched in horror as their brother went into cardiac arrest.
Jason, who had previously undergone basic first aid training, added: “He wasn’t breathing and his arms were rigid, the phone operators were talking me through CPR on the phone.
“It could have only been two minutes, but it seemed like forever.
“I was so scared, it was unbelievable – it felt like my world was falling apart.
“I’ve always been told that CPR is a last resort, and when the cardiologist came from Great Ormond Street in London, he was baffled.
“There was nothing to suggest Tommy may have been at higher risk from a cardiac arrest.
“We were told he might not make it and that his chances were incredibly slim.
“He was put in an induced coma for 72 hours, and we were told – he might not walk, talk or remember you.
“I’m not a religious guy but I prayed every day – to aid his recovery, Birmingham Children’s Hospital’s chaplain told Tommy he could play football in the chapel.
“Watching that, and all the people that helped him – they enabled him to walk out of hospital just 16 days later.
“He’s now playing all the time, loving watching the football and all the things he did before, but I am concerned it’s all be too much.
“The other day, he saw an ambulance and panicked, hoping that they’re not for him.
“I have to reassure him – his heart is better and there’s been no real damage but everyone has been a bit dumbfounded by it.
“It just shows anyone can have a cardiac arrest and now I just want to give back.”
Jason has set up a JustGiving link to support Birmingham Children’s Hospital: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jason-plant3?utm_id=124