Little Arianna Mei Hale was just two months old when she became seriously ill while on a day out to the Hepworth Wakefield with her mum Sophie Mei Lan, 27, and older sister Jasmine, three, in February.
Paramedics resuscitated Arianna at the gallery and rushed her to Pinderfields Hospital. She was later transferred the paediatric intensive care unit at Leeds General Infirmary, where she stayed for a week, with Sophie and dad Chris Hale at her side. Arianna battled through her illness, which was caused by flu and pneumonia, to make a full recovery. She is now back home with her family in Sandal.
Mum Sophie has written a letter to the paramedic who helped her on that day:
You picked up my lifeless baby from the Hepworth Gallery earlier this year.
When you rushed through the doors of the Hepworth, you instantly injected hope into what was the most awful and surreal moment of my life.
My beautiful baby girl had stopped breathing and started bleeding from the nose and mouth. She had turned grey and unresponsive. I tried, amidst my wails, to resuscitate her.
Strangers helped me as we lay my little Arianna on the floor and put her into recovery position. The nightmare continued as she still wasn’t breathing.
We were guided by the emergency operator to lie my baby back to open her airways.
Thankfully, two paramedics ran in and they calmly and quickly ventilated my beautiful little girl.
They put Arianna on a stretcher and they ushered my other daughter Jasmine and I on to the ambulance.
On board, the large mask covering my baby’s face seemed to do some good as she started to gasp. I cried with some temporary relief.
You, paramedic I don’t remember your name, but you smiled and reassured my eldest daughter, a scared three-year-old who had been excited about doing crafts at the gallery but was suddenly faced with the worst drama possible.
In that short journey to Pinderfields Hospital you managed to keep us all going, you breathed life back into my almost-dead baby, you played with my Jasmine and you clearly and confidently explained what you were doing to me.
I could not have asked for more from you and your colleague, you were on shift, we were not your only casualties that day but you made us feel like we were all that matter to you.
You did not just ship us off and leave us in the resuscitation room at the hospital but you came and you cared for us all. You made sure my eldest was fed and you distracted her from seeing a large team of medical professionals rush around Arianna as nobody knew what had caused her to stop breathing.
You continued to update me, whilst offering no promises, your kind nature somewhat calmed me.
You stayed with us until my partner and mother-in-law arrived.You gave my daughter the gift of life, you made us feel special and we could not have asked for better care.
We realise how lucky we are to have a happy ending. We have a beautiful lively nine-month-old now who is growing stronger each day and she has a long life ahead of her.
Earlier this week, Arianna and I visited the Yorkshire Ambulance Service Roadshow where we met your boss and some of your other life-saving colleagues.
Even then, in a non-emergency but educational situation, the staff listened to our story and they told us about their passion for her first Aid whilst making a fuss of my baby, the one you saved.
So thank you Yorkshire Ambulance Service and especially the staff, the heartbeat of your organisation, the people who give up their own lives to not just ‘do a job’ but to care for those in the most vulnerable of situations. You are what is truly good about humanity. I know funding is tight, scary cuts are looming and times are very hard but please know that you are appreciated.
If anybody is reading this please join me in saying #ThankYouNHS. We should all know the basics of first aid should the unthinkable happen.
Sophie Mei Lan