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3 January 2012, 10:33
A three-year-old who died for six minutes after suffering a cardiac arrest has thanked medics who brought him back to life.
Kai Clark suffered the attack at his home in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, on October 17. He stopped breathing and his heart stopped beating.
His mother, Kelly Clark, who was looking after Kai at the time, said she feared for the worst until paramedics and the air ambulance arrived.
Without the expertise and team work between the medical crews and the rapid transfer to a specialist hospital, doctors said Kai would almost certainly not have survived.
Mrs Clark said: "I was trying to resuscitate him myself but I feared it was too late.
"It was the most frightening experience you can go through as a parent.
"They arrived so quickly and it was an enormous relief.
"He still has some medical complications and it has been a hard process to get to this point, but to see him walking and smiling again is amazing.''
Today, the family visited Cambridge Airport, where the East Anglian Air Ambulance is based.
It provided an opportunity to say thank you to the helicopter crews and the East of England Ambulance Trust.
Ambulance crews were first on the scene and they succeeded in resuscitating Kai.
He was then taken directly to intensive care at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge.
He was later transferred to London's Great Ormond Street Hospital - but was home in time for Christmas.
Kai laughed and smiled as he sat behind the helicopter's controls and tried the pilot's helmet on for size.
He said: "I want to fly it.''
Dr Richard Lyon, who attended the incident with paramedic Jemma Varela, said: "It is difficult to define the moment a person is dead, but he wasn't breathing and his heart stopped so, to all intents and purposes, he was dead.
"It is fantastic to see Kai doing so well now.
"After his heart stopped, Kai's mum, the 999 call-taker and local ambulance crew were all outstanding in performing first-class resuscitation in a frightening, life-threatening situation.
"This ensured Kai's brain received oxygen and his heart was started within a short time.
"The air ambulance was invaluable as we were able to provide rapid intensive care to Kai, including cooling his body to protect his brain, ensuring we gave him the best possible chance of surviving without lasting disability.''
Kai's father, Philip Clark, has now left his job as a courier to act as a carer for his son.
The couple have two other children, three-week-old Caitlin, and nine-year-old Joshua.
Mr Clark said: "With Caitlin being born and Kai still recovering, it's been a busy and difficult time.
"But it was great to all be together for Christmas and now we can look forward to the future as a family.''
Alison Horsley, for the air ambulance charity, said: "It's occasions like this that make the hard work of so many in our region to raise funds for the East Anglian Air Ambulance worthwhile.''