A schoolboy whose heart stopped beating for 25 minutes after his lifeless body was pulled from a swimming pool has made a miraculous recovery.
Cade Ewington, 11, was rescued by quick thinking swimming teachers during a school lesson when they saw him fall unconscious and lying face down in the water.
The youngster had suffered from a cardiac arrest and paramedics were thankfully on the scene within five minutes to perform life saving CPR.
But they were initially unable to restart his heart and Cade hadn’t taken a breath for 25 minutes – meaning he was medically dead.
The youngster was later diagnosed and treated for a rare condition which made him suffer cardiac arrest.
His father Mark, 46, spoke of the horror of seeing his son at death’s door after walking into the hospital and seeing medics rapidly working to try and stablise Cade.
The father-of-four from Luton, Bedfordshire, said: “He is my absolute everything and I can hand on heart say that I thought it was the end.
“Up until that day Cade had absolutely nothing wrong with him, he was just swimming and was one of the most athletic kids you could come across.
“There were a dozen medical staff and police over him, they looked at us and you could tell no one wanted to give us the news.
“He was out cold on the bed and we didn’t know if he was alive or dead – you never want to see your son like that.
“The whole thing was horrific and just a horrible ordeal.”
Confident swimmer Cade became unresponsive during his first school swimming lesson at Active Luton’s Lewsey Pool on June 6.
He was rushed to Luton and Dunstable hospital after six paramedics from the East of England Ambulance Service managed to restart his heart.
Cade was then taken to Great Ormond Street Hospital and once he was stable doctors decided to sedate him for two days to protect his brain which was swollen following the trauma.
The sporty youngster was in hospital for two weeks but has remarkably escaped with no brain damage other than not being able to remember the ordeal.
Mark, who owns a company which modifies cars, said: “Cade was very dazed and confused when he was taken out of the sedation as he had lost his short term memory, but slowly he started to get it back.
“He knows his future is going to be different but he has come to terms with it quickly and Cade is very strong minded and strong willed.”
The youngster has since had an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) fitted which will restart his heart if he suffers another cardiac arrest.
The ICD is battery-powered and keeps track of a person’s heart rate – if an abnormal heart rhythm is detected, the device will deliver an electric shock to restore it to normal.
Cade’s heart problem is known as Long QT where there are problems with the electrical activity of the heart, which his doctor at GOSH described as “very rare”.
The youngster said: “Thank you to everyone, especially my friends for coming to visit me all the way at GOSH.
“It’s been an amazing journey and a special thank you to the lifeguard for saving my life and to the wonderful doctors and nurses for looking after me so well.
“I hate why it happened but love the ICD as it will keep me safe forever.”
His mum Sam, 39, added: “It’s been an experience I can never really put into words.
“It is simply every parent’s worse fear but due to the strength and positive outlook on life it has made us as a family stronger than ever and got us through it with a smile.”
The young Arsenal fan has to have the batteries in his ICD changed every eight years and the results are directly gathered from the device and sent to GOSH to be analysed every night.
Dr Juan Kaski, consultant paediatric cardiologist at GOSH, said: “Cade’s heart went into a chaotic rhythm called ventricular fibrillation, which effectively means that the heart is unable to pump any blood, and this is equivalent to the heart having stopped.
“He received excellent resuscitation from the life guard at the pool initially and then from paramedics and doctors, and after around 20-25 minutes his heart started pumping again.
“Cardiac arrests in children are very rare, and are often caused by genetic heart conditions that can run in families.
“The resuscitation and care that Cade received immediately after his cardiac arrest meant that he was able to recover without any significant brain damage.”
Since his traumatic ordeal Cade has met with the lifeguards, swimming teachers and paramedics who helped save his life just over a month ago.
Mark and his wife Sam, 39, have been married for 17 years and have three daughters together – Tansy, 13, Kiten, five, and six-month-old Dolly.