Case Study: Dan - "CPR varies vastly between an adult and a baby"

Noah Swales was just three days old when he died from bacterial meningitis on 21 May 2017, despite having shown none of the usual symptoms.

On a spring day, Noah’s parents, Vicky and Dan, had introduced the newborn to family in the North East when tragedy struck.

Vicky had an “overall uneventful pregnancy” and Noah was born on 18 May. Consultants did not detect anything wrong with Noah after taking routine blood samples. The family was cleared at 20:30 to take him home, with midwives set to visit in a few days.

The evenings following the birth was completely normal, with no alarming signs. The morning that Noah passed away was a typical day according to Dan. Noah had his morning feed at 4:00 and another at 8:00.

Dan said: “We had a nice visit to family in Guisborough and everyone enjoyed meeting Noah. Vicky sensed that something wasn’t right; Noah refused to eat and had turned blue. We decided it would be best to drop in at the nearest hospital to get him checked, just in case.”

Noah was quickly put in the car and strapped in, with the intention of driving to the hospital. Vicky soon noticed that Noah wasn’t breathing – panic mode set in, and Dan stopped the car at the safest area.

Dan added: “I stopped the car and started performing CPR on Noah in the front seat until the ambulance arrived. He was unresponsive. I’ve had to do CPR on children before as part of my job but this was personal – he was my special boy.”

Whilst Dan performed CPR, Vicky went in search of a defibrillator but could not find one at any nearby locations.

A carer from the local retirement home came out to assist but was not trained on baby CPR and could not help. Dan knew that he was going to tire himself out so had to tell the carer what to do, and she eventually took over.

The ambulance arrived after 8-10 minutes and police arrived shortly after. Dan had done everything possible to save Noah’s life until the crew took over.

The family arrived at the hospital where doctors tried to save Noah life for about two hours and continued to find a weak pulse. After several hours they decided to stop resuscitation and Noah passed away in his mother’s arms.

In memory of Noah, a defibrillator was later installed at the care home, featuring a dedicated plaque. Dan and Vicky felt devastated and lost, so they found themselves doing charity work including work with BHF. They both continue to do an annual event for Noah and have raised over £35,000 since 2017 for 4Louis.

It’s so important that everyone knows how to correctly perform CPR on people of all ages, as it varies vastly between an adult, child, and a baby.
Dan, Noah's father

Dan concluded: "One way we can continue to remember Noah is through raising money for charity and raising awareness of baby CPR."