NEW YORK (CBS 2) — A Brooklyn family looking forward to their baby’s birth instead found themselves facing the crisis of a lifetime: their newborn child had no heartbeat, and doctors couldn’t seem to bring him back.
Then, as CBS 2’s Kristine Johnson reports, something unexpected happened, and only one word can explain what it was. They call him the “Miracle Baby” – 15-month-old Daniel Knibbs.
Thursday was a very special reunion, as the Knibbs family thanked the medical team that saved Daniel’s life on the night he was born.
“I’m so grateful,” Marjorie Knibbs said. “Can I give you a hug?”
It all began at New York Methodist Hospital. After a normal pregnancy, Marjorie Knibbs was in labor and about to deliver a baby. Suddenly, there was a crisis. Doctors told her that she needed an emergency C-section, and that the baby’s heart had stopped beating.
Still, she stayed positive.
“I knew something was wrong, but I thought it would be okay,” she said.
Everything wasn’t okay, though.
“This baby was basically pronounced dead,” Dr. Robert Dorfman said.
The baby was born with no heartbeat, and he wasn’t breathing. The medical team immediately went into action, trying to revive him over and over again – but they couldn’t. After 20 minutes, it was time to let him go.
“Such a disappointment…your heart goes to your feet, you know,” Nurse Maggie Jackson said.
Moments later, though, something incredible happened. Jackson saw the baby move.
The team leapt back into action, and was able to get Daniel to breathe.
“That baby gave us a sign that he wants to live,” Jackson said.
The situation was still grim, as doctors told the family that Daniel was in critical condition and was on life support.
“He came up to me and said, ‘it’s not good,’” father Dwight Knibbssaid. “I’m saying, ‘what are you saying to me,’ and he said, ‘it’s not good.’”
Daniel had been without oxygen for 20 minutes, and doctors feared severe brain damage, so they transferred him to New York-Presbyterian Hospital Weill Cornell. Doctors there used a cooling cap to lower his temperature, to allow the brain to rest and to limit damage.
Doctors removed the cap after 72 hours, but warned the parents that it was likely Daniel would have severe neurological problems.
“This was like so unbelievable, so surreal,” Marjorie said.
The story didn’t end there, though. Amazingly, Daniel has no brain damage, and his doctors say he is as normal as any other 15-month-old baby. His recovery has stunned everyone.
“In a way it was a miracle. It was definitely way, way outside the norm of medicine,” Dr. Dorfman said.
Though there were terrifying moments, Marjorie said she never gave up hope.
“There was never a doubt in my mind, and I think that’s what makes the difference,” she said.
“He’s just a happy-go-lucky baby. We all love him.”
Doctors continue to monitor Daniel closely. At 18 months, he will have another series of tests on overall health and brain function.