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'Miracle boy' expected to make full recovery after almost drowning in swimming pool

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John-Henry Birtle
John-Henry Birtle

A four-year-old “miracle boy” is expected to make a full recovery after almost drowning in a swimming pool.

John-Henry Birtle, who attends Mount Primary School, Newark, was on holiday with his family in Slough when he was found at the bottom of the hotel pool.

His mother, Roseann, jumped into the pool to drag him out, and a hotel staff member administered CPR for 20 minutes before his pulse returned. He had been in the water for nine minutes.

After the incident, on February 26 this year, John-Henry spent 13 days on life support in John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, before he was transferred to Nottingham Children’s Hospital for specialist treatment.

His parents were told by doctors that he was unlikely to walk or talk again, but John-Henry is now walking, eating and drinking normally and his speech is beginning to return.

John-Henry Birtle and his mother, Roseann
John-Henry Birtle and his mother, Roseann

Roseann said: “He was starved of oxygen for 28 minutes. For those 28 minutes he was gone.

“Doctors said he won’t have a good quality of life, he would not walk or talk or be able to recognise us, but he proved them all wrong and actually walked out of hospital five weeks later.

John-Henry Birtle taking part in physiotherapy
John-Henry Birtle taking part in physiotherapy

“We were praying the whole time the lady was giving him CPR and I had faith that God was going to heal him. He is my miracle boy.”

The family have three other children: two boys, one aged 13 and the other aged 19 months; and a girl aged 8.

Roseann paid tribute to staff at Nottingham Children’s Hospital.

She said: “All the clinical staff, the nurses, speech therapists, the physio team and occupational therapy team, have been absolutely fantastic.

“When you get to spend a long time in hospital you see how hard they work and what a brilliant job they do.”

Staff at Nottingham Children's Hospital helped John-Henry Birtle in his recovery
Staff at Nottingham Children's Hospital helped John-Henry Birtle in his recovery

John-Henry’s father, Lewis, will take part in a Tough Mudder challenge at Belvoir Castle on May 20, to raise money for the hospital’s Big Appeal, which aims to raise £3 million for parent and family accommodation, state-of-the-art equipment and vital research at the children’s hospital.

The hospital’schildren’s therapy assistant, Ellena Hodgetts, says: “It is great to see John-Henry doing so well with his recovery.”

Barbara Cathcart, chief executive of Nottingham Hospitals Charity, says: “This is a remarkable story of hope and healing and we wish John-Henry well for his continued recovery.

“I’m delighted that the family want to fundraise for Nottingham Children’s Hospital. Our Big Appeal will make a big difference to children like John-Henry by helping to improve family accommodation and make the hospital a more child-friendly place, as well as funding up to the minute diagnostic equipment and crucial research.”

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