Born fighter, baby without a heartbeat turns 8 months old

  • Sidhartha Dutta, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
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  • Updated: Jul 27, 2013 00:36 IST

A file photo of Oliver Touchton, the boy who was born without a heartbeat and the ability to breathe. (HT Photo)

On November 26 last year, Oliver Touchton was born missing a heartbeat as well as the ability to breathe.

His vital organs such as the kidneys, liver, lungs and heart had shut down because he was delivered in a critical condition using an emergency Caesarean section.

The boy wonder, as he is being called now, is now as healthy as any other eight-month-old child. Babies born without a heartbeat are rare, but a baby with so many accompanying complications at birth is rarer.

Oliver’s mother, Shaila Daniel Touchton, an Indian married to an American, has even written a poem to appreciate the doctor’s efforts to save her child.

The Bangalore-based couple turned to Dr V Krishnan, senior consultant neonatologist at Malathi Manipal Hospitals in the city eight months ago.      

“The baby was brought to our hospital without heartbeat and breathing efforts. He was immediately put on ventilation. The breathing and heartbeat eventually started. The baby was given IV fluids and parental diet to neutralise his condition,” Dr Krishnan said.

Oliver weighed 4.3 kg at birth, which is much above the normal weight (2.5 to 3.2 kg). Dr Krishnan explained his body got swollen due to retained fluid, while the fat under his skin was damaged.

A file photo of Oliver Touchton, the boy who was born without a heartbeat and the ability to breathe. (HT Photo)

Unfortunately, this was not the end of Oliver’s problems. His calcium levels shot up to dangerous levels after he was discharged from hospital, leading to formation of stones in the liver and kidneys.

“His calcium level went up to 21 mg/dL, which is much higher than the normal 9 to 11 mg/dL range. I had never seen such high calcium levels in a baby. We had to give the child some unusual medicines, usually given to adults or older children, to bring down the calcium level,” Dr Krishnan said. 

“Such levels had never been encountered or treated by any practicing neonatologist in Bangalore or in other major centres in India. We had to seek the expertise of specialists in England. Though the liver stones formed in the gall bladder melted away, the kidney stone is under observation.”

Shaila, an engineer, said, “Dr Krishnan is an angel in my life. He did everything required to save my baby’s life. He is extremely able when it comes to taking firm decisions during emergency, which becomes crucial in saving lives.”


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