“The paramedics arrived and continued CPR for about five minutes in the house, then took him into the ambulance and were shocking him.” He was taken to York Hospital, where he was given adrenalin to start his heart again. Mr Hilary had been away and joined his wife at the hospital. Mrs Hilary said: “They gave him adrenalin shocks three times and finally his heart started beating again.
“It felt like an absolute lifetime waiting to find out if he would live or die. The doctors told me that the prognosis was not good, that his heart had stopped beating for 39 minutes, and to prepare myself for the worst. It was just devastating.”
Five months on, the toddler is back at home with his parents and his brothers Jake, five, and six-month-old Scott.
When Zach was taken off a ventilator, an MRI scan revealed that his brain had been damaged. He was given physiotherapy and speech therapy and on Feb 27 was finally able to go home. The cause of the heart attack is a mystery. Mrs Hilary has since been on a resuscitation course in case it should happen again.
One of the paramedics, Amy Mackintosh, said the case was one of the most unusual she had come across. York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said: “It’s fantastic news that Zach is doing so well. We are always pleased to hear of a good outcome.”