In April 2001, 20-month-old Sean McCarthy was brought into hospital with a body temperature of 26 Celsius, showing no vital signs for two hours.
Rescued from a thawing creek after 20 minutes in the water, his body shut down almost immediately.
As a last ditch effort, Sean was attached to an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machine, which removes, warms then restores oxygenated blood to the body.
“When we signed the release papers for that procedure, they told us then it was just experimental. That it was a last chance thing,” said his mother, Natalie.
But it worked. And 10 days later Sean was revived from a coma and four days after that he went home, as healthy as ever.
If it weren’t for the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Natalie said, her son would not be alive today.
At noon on Sunday, the McCarthys will be featured in a “Where are they now“ segment of the CHEO telethon as living proof of the life-saving work the Ottawa hospital does every day.
This is the 25th telethon, which starts at 7 p.m. tomorrow on CTV. It has raised around $63 million since it started.
“We depend on the community we serve and they have always been very generous,” CHEO foundation vice-president Norma Lamont said.