A Brecon family have thanked the Welsh Ambulance Service crews whose swift and ‘gutsy’ actions saved their baby boy’s life.

Nine-week-old Caleb Parrish had a sudden cardiac arrest in the lounge of their home, but quick-thinking ambulance crews performed CPR and defibrillation which brought him back to life.

Caleb would later be diagnosed with Cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart muscles that makes it harder for your heart to pump blood to the rest of your body.

Father Jamie Raby, 31, recalled: “It was just like any other day really, the weather was nice and we were getting the kids ready to go out for the day.

“My partner Jenna had just given Caleb a feed when he was sick and almost immediately his breathing slowed right down and he began to change colour.”

Jenna Parrish, 33, a bakery worker, continued: “It was scary how quick it all happened.

“I screamed to Jamie to call an ambulance.

“Even though the crew arrived within minutes, it felt like a lifetime to us.”

Jamie, a cleaning manager, said: “The paramedics arrived and extra support in a fast response car as well.

“Caleb had stopped breathing and they had to use a defibrillator.

“It must have taken incredible guts to shock such a young baby, but they did it and brought him back to life.”

Caleb was first taken to Nevill Hall Hospital, Abergavenny.

From there he was transported to University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, for four nights and then eventually onto Bristol Royal Infirmary where he spent the next 11 weeks, 10 of those in the Intensive Care Unit.

A total of four vehicles and six ambulance staff attended the scene to assist in the delicate care, support and decision-making on Caleb’s condition.

County Times: Welsh Ambulance Service crew that saved nine-week-old Caleb Parrish's life.Welsh Ambulance Service crew that saved nine-week-old Caleb Parrish's life.

Brecon crew Martin Scott, or ‘Scotty’, and John Robinson were first on scene.

Scotty has over 16 years’ experience as an Emergency Medical Technician and has known the family all his life.

He said: “The call came in as a paediatric respiratory arrest.

“I remember walking through the door and Jamie was clearly in a state of distress screaming for help.

“Caleb was on the floor in the lounge and had gone into cardiac arrest.

“My first thought was to get straight to the airway and start ventilation whilst John started manual chest compressions.”

Huw Jackson, Health Board Clinical Lead for the Welsh Ambulance Service, was next to arrive and after assessing Caleb, found he was in a shockable rhythm and was able to use a defibrillator.

“Although we’re trained for it, it is extremely rare to shock such a young child,” he said.

“It was a first for all of us.

“I put the pads on him and we shocked him once followed by more manual CPR for two minutes.

“A second shock was needed to stabilise him and after this we were able to administer adrenaline through the bone.”

Bronllys crew Christopher Morgan and Andrew Duffield also attended along with Clinical Support Officer, Carl Powell.

Caleb still needed urgent care but was now breathing for himself and the decision was taken to rush him by road to Nevill Hall Hospital, Abergavenny where he remained for four nights before being taken to Bristol.

With the emergency call coming in at 8.43am, between them, the team managed to resuscitate and treat Caleb, now five-months-old, and provided ongoing clinical care and support whilst quickly and safely transferring him to hospital.

The Raby/Parrishes are a family of seven, having Caleb and four other children, one of whom is two-year-old Toby.

County Times: Nine-week-old baby Caleb Parrish.Nine-week-old baby Caleb Parrish.

Toby also suffers with a heart condition that requires constant treatment and at the time his younger brother was at Bristol Royal Infirmary, he was called in too to have a pacemaker fitted.

Parents Jamie and Jenna spent several weeks at the hospital splitting their time on the ward as current coronavirus restrictions mean only one parent can be at a child’s bedside.

Jamie said: “I don’t know how we got through it, maybe it hasn’t hit us yet.

“Doctors at the hospital told us it was an hour-by-hour thing with Caleb, so to see him doing so well is incredible.

“He’s such a fighter.”

Jenna continued: “One thing for sure though is that without the Welsh Ambulance crews arriving so fast and working on Caleb, things would have been very different.

“Thank you doesn’t seem to cut it, there aren’t really any words to express our gratitude, not just to the ambulance service, but to the nurses, doctors, surgeons and all the staff at the hospitals.

“They are all amazing.

“Thanks to them we still have Caleb.”

After Caleb’s care was fully transferred to the hospital, and due to the intense nature of the incident, Huw held a de-brief with the team back at Brecon station to check that everybody was okay.

Scotty said: “It was the first time I’ve broken down after a job, it was very tough.”

Paying tribute to the team, Huw said: “The staff who attended this call all worked together as a team and this resulted in a successful outcome for Caleb in what is one of the most difficult calls to attend.

“The professionalism and care delivered by all involved was commendable and I would like to wish Caleb all the best for the future.”

Caleb is now recovering at home, where he is being fed through a tube.

Jamie said: “Neurologically he’s doing amazing considering he was on a ventilator for so long.

“He’s doing everything he should be for a boy his age.

“I wouldn’t change him for the world.”