The family of a young British boy who emerged from a coma with a smile on his face is on a mission to get him to Boston for life-saving heart surgery.
Michael Labuschagne was just 14 weeks old when he suffered heart failure in the early hours of March 15, his mom Emma wrote in a video shared to Facebook.
“Words cannot begin to describe the pain we felt in that moment,” she wrote on a GoFundMe page arranged to help fund his surgery. “We watched our baby breathless, gasping for air while his heart stopped and paramedics worked to save his life. In that moment I did not think Michael would make it through.”
Miraculously, Michael, now 10 months old, did make it through his out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, something less than six percent of patients survive, according to the Journal of the American Heart Association.
Still, he was without oxygen for nine minutes, and was placed in an induced coma in the hospital, his family said.
The Bristol-based toddler spent five days in the coma before he awoke with a smile on his face aimed at his 28-year-old father, Stuart.
“The first thing he did when he opened his beautiful brown eyes was smile at his daddy,” Emma, 27, wrote in her video.
Michael did not suffer any brain damage, but he was diagnosed with a cardiac fibroma that had latched itself to the septum in the left chamber of his heart, according to his GoFundMe.
Though the tumor is benign, its location may obstruct blood flow and is often associated with arrhythmias — or abnormal heart rhythms — and ventricular tachycardia, according to Boston Children’s Hospital.
Michael has been outfitted with an internal pacemaker and defibrillator, though the machines have “caused physical developmental delay” and are not working as effectively as they should be, Emma wrote on the GoFundMe.
She explained that the surgery needed to save Michael’s life is not available in the United Kingdom, and is not funded by the country’s universal healthcare system, meaning they’ll have to head across the pond to Boston.
“The cardiac surgeons at Boston are *fact* the best cardiac surgeons in the world and they have done this operation several times,” she wrote. “They are confident that they can drastically improve, or even cure, his condition by resecting the tumor.”
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The Labuschagnes are now on a mission to raise the $147,000 needed to cover the procedure, and have so far amassed the equivalent of $42,000.
“The dream is to get him to Boston as soon as we can,” the page reads. “Every day we worry if it will be our last with Michael.”