A little lad is finally home following a nearly two-year hospital stay after he was was left severely brain damaged – when he choked on a HAM SANDWICH.
Dylan Woodley, now five, was happily tucking into his lunch when the sliced meat got stuck in his throat and he ran to his mum Ally Wheatley for help.
Quick-thinking mum Ally, 28, thumped him repeatedly on his back but was horrified when he went limp in her arms and she was forced to do CPR.
Despite paramedics taking over within minutes, his brain was starved of oxygen for 45 minutes in total leaving him with severe brain damage.
But now after a mammoth 20 month stay at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children – one of their longest staying patients – he has finally been allowed home.
Mum Ally – who also had to live in hospital charity accommodation for the duration – said: “The hospital has been both a home and a hell to Dylan and I.
“The journey we have been on is one I wouldn’t wish on anyone but we have met some incredible people who have helped keep us going, physically and emotionally.
“It would take a long time to name everyone who has touched our lives so I want to thank everyone.
“From our first few days in PICU to our rehabilitation stint on ward 38b and all the wards in between the staff have been a constant support.
“I was nervous about getting home and having no one to call for help – scared stiff if I am honest!
“But now it just feels normal having him home.
“I dread to think what I would be like if he hadn’t survived, but luckily we didn’t have to go through that.
“Life can change so quickly in a second and people don’t realise that.
“People say to me they don’t know how I do it, but you don’t know what you can do until you have to just have to.
“It has been hard but seeing his face and him fighting every day – that has kept me going.”
Former shop-worker Ally made a sandwich for Dylan, then three, and served it to him while he was sat at their coffee table, in November 2015.
He ran into the kitchen crying after the meat got stuck in his throat, and she quickly tapped him on the back before turning him over on her knee and doing ‘back slaps’.
But when he went limp and suffered a cardiac arrest in her arms, first-aid trained Ally put him on the floor, dialled 999, and immediately began CPR.
She bravely continued until paramedics took over minutes later – the second time she had done CPR on Dylan, after he aspirated on vomit as a premature newborn.
“I remember shouting down the phone to the operator ‘I can’t do this again’,” added Ally, who has two stepdaughter and a stepson.
“I just went into autopilot I think.
“The first responder arrived within minutes, but it felt like forever.”
Medics suctioned out the blockage and flew him by air ambulance to hospital.
He was eventually resuscitated and put on a ventilator, but scans carried out while he was in intensive care showed the lack of oxygen had “affected every part of his brain”.
Despite his ordeal, Dylan pulled through and woke up, but has since been diagnosed with global hypoxia – severe brain damage – as well as quadriplegic cerebral palsy.
The bubbly little fighter can still smile and has fought to learn how to communicate with his eyes, but uses a wheelchair and has a feeding tube.
He stayed in hospital until he was well enough to come home and while the family’s home was adapted for his needs, on July 20.
Mum Ally and step-dad Roy Townsend, 42, a plasterer, are astonished by his fight to survive – and his ability to smile despite his ordeal.
She said: “Dylan is starting school in September which will be huge step for everyone.
“Between now and then it will mainly be me caring for him on the weekdays and then on weekends, the extended family will all get together for day trips.
“We have missed out on a lot of these.
“We do have six outpatients appointments already booked in before 2017 is over so I’m sure no one at the hospital will miss us too much.
“My hope for the next year or two is simply not to be re-admitted to the hospital and to return to a sense of normality.”