The parents of a critically ill girl who were told to say their final goodbyes just weeks before Christmas today revealed how the tot made a miraculous recovery.
Little Alexia Rose Crane was taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital unable to keep down her food and drink.
Just a day later she went into cardiac arrest and was medically dead for seven minutes while doctors battled to save her.
At just 14-months-old Alexia was rushed to Alder Hey Hospital on December 16 as her devastated parents Melissa Kimpton and Joseph Crane were warned she may not survive the journey.
Just hours later she was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy which was causing her major organs, including her heart, to shut down.
She was put on a ventilator and medics told her parents to say their final goodbyes as they feared the worst.
Miss Kimpton said: “To hear your child might not make it is the worst thing a mother can her.
“We didn’t know what was happening, and we were panicking. It was such a traumatic experience and it’s changed our lives.”
It was a fraught time of uncertainly for the family, but brave Alexia started to improve, and nine days later was finally strong enough to come off the ventilator on Christmas Day.
Miss Kimpton, 25, said Alexia first started to get poorly at the beginning of December, when she was refusing to eat or drink.
Doctors diagnosed a sore throat and gave her a syringe to administer fluids and antibiotics, but two days later her body had begun to shut down.
“Her hands and feet were blue and cold,” she added.
“She just wasn’t herself at all.
“A scan at Alder Hey confirmed the dilated cardiomyopathy, and that her heart, liver, pancreas and kidneys were shutting down.”
Miss Kimpton, of Wensleydale Avenue, Grange Park, says she spent two weeks travelling from Liverpool to Blackpool while Mr Crane spent time with Alexia’s bother, Cameron Barlow, eight.
“I spent all of Christmas at Alder Hey – Christmas was cancelled in our house,” she said.
Alexia was discharged from Alder Hey on January 6, when she was allowed to go straight home.
Miss Kimpton said she still suffered what she called “blue episodes”, but otherwise she was doing alright.
“I am petrified it will happen again, and I cry at anything, but so far Alexia’s OK,” she said.
“It’s just a case of waiting to see how it might affect her as she gets older.”
People with dilated cardiomyopathy, which is a weakening in heart muscle which makes it harder to pump blood around the body, either recover from it, face a lifetime on medication or need a heart transplant and are at risk of sudden cardiac death.