A baby girl who survived a cardiac arrest has been reunited with a doctor from the CQC rated ‘outstanding’ paediatric intensive care team at St George’s Hospital, that helped care for her when she was critically unwell.

Siya Patel was 11 months old when she fell and hit her head on a radiator in April earlier this year. She was rushed straight to St George’s Hospital, and doctors shortly discovered that the injury had hit an artery, which resulted in her entering a cardiac arrest when arriving at the emergency department.

For infants the probability of survival after an in-hospital cardiac arrest is very low, and for 8-10 cases per 1,000 people, the outcome is generally very poor, with only a 2.9-6% chance of survival for children.

Dr Buvana Dwarakanathan, Consultant in Paediatric Intensive Care said: “Siya lost lots of blood when she arrived at the hospital and was in a critical state. It was a huge team effort from our emergency service colleagues and paediatric trauma team to respond quickly and resuscitate her.”

Shortly after reviving Siya, she was taken straight to the paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) where she remained in a critical condition for nine days. Her parents feared the worst, as it was uncertain if Siya would ever wake up.

Siya miraculously started to stabilise, her eyesight returned, her muscles regained movement again, and she stopped having seizures. Siya was discharged from PICU to Nicholls Ward to assess her for any further neurological damage, before eventually being discharged home.

Dr Kirti Singhal came for a surprise visit at St George’s Dragon Centre to meet Siya and her family at a recent follow up outpatient appointment: She said: “It was a privilege to be reunited with Siya and represent our children’s services on this occasion, as I’m part of a big clinical team involved in her care. I can’t believe Siya remembered me; it really made my day being able to see her again.”

Speaking about his experience meeting Dr Singhal, Siya’s father, Paras Patel said: “Dr Singhal was one of the first doctors we met following the cardiac arrest, and we were convinced that Siya wouldn’t wake up and prepared ourselves for the worst. The following days were a whirlwind for us, but we got to know Dr Singhal and the PICU team really well. She was supportive, she cared deeply for Siya, and always made the time to keep us updated on the ward.

“My wife and I were really scared, but both Dr Singhal and Dr Buvana gave us hope during those darkest days. I will never forget their kindness, nor will I forget how much the PICU team supported us during one of the most challenging times for our family. Siya spent her first birthday in hospital, so I know St Georges will always hold poignant memories for us.”

Fast forward to now, Siya is happy and bubbly 14-month-old baby, who has re-learnt how to eat, crawl, and is starting to talk. Soon she will be having an operation following complications, to have a prosthetic foot to improve the quality of her life.

Anita D’Souza, Head of Nursing said: “Siya’s care was delivered by our fantastic multidisciplinary team and specialist colleagues working across our outstanding rated children’s services. We all wish Siya good health and happiness for her future.”

Paras Patel said: “We still have a long road ahead of us, but the hope and positivity that we were given from the doctors and nurses at St Georges really helped me through that time and supported my daughter. I know that Siya is going to strive and succeed in life, and I’m proud that she is still smiling after such a tough time.”

Notes to editors

St George’s children’s services are rated outstanding by the CQC.

Every year St George’s treats over 130,000 children and deliver 5000 babies.

About two thirds of our patients come in through the Paediatric Emergency Department. The remaining children are referred from our region or because of the department’s special expertise.

In addition to hosting one of London’s largest and most comprehensive children’s surgical unit, a largest infectious disease unit, one of only 3 paediatric trauma centres, neurology service and paediatric neurosurgery unit as well as a host of other paediatric tertiary services, we also have the only oncology PICU for South London, Kent, Surrey and Essex.

St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is the largest healthcare provider, major teaching hospital and tertiary centre for southwest London, Surrey and beyond – and one of the largest healthcare providers in the UK – serving a population of 3.5 million.

Its main site, St George’s Hospital – one of the country’s principal teaching hospitals – is shared with St George’s, University of London, which trains medical students and carries out advanced medical research.

St George’s is one of 11 adult and children major trauma centres in the UK, one of eight hyper acute stroke units and one of the biggest and busiest of the eight heart attack centres in London.

St George’s is the only hospital site in London where children with cancer can receive oncology surgery, PICU and neurosurgery as well as oncology care all on the same site with the other specialties that are required as well.