1-Year-Old Miracle Boy Survived Three Cardiac Arrests and an Emergency Heart Operation

Jaimie-lee Prince
May 30, 2019
09:14 P.M.
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Riley Dibble was given a two percent chance of survival after doctors discovered a second heart defect when he was just six months old. 


Born to Beth and Jordan Dibble of Staffordshire, Riley is now being called a "miracle baby" after surviving at least two cardiac arrests and an emergency procedure.

The baby boy, born on June 25 last year, was whisked away from his mother moments after delivery. At just one-year-old, he underwent his first open heart surgery.

His parents couldn't hold him for at least five days following the ordeal. He was discharged a week later and his parents brought him to their Knutton home. 

Two babies in baskets | Photo: Shutterstock


Three months later, Riley's skin color turned an ashen grey. His parents called and an ambulance took him to the Royal Stoke University Hospital. Again, he underwent another procedure.

Speaking to Stoke Sentinel, mother Beth described what she saw: 

“My poor baby was gasping, his eyes were glazed, he was recessing when he was breathing and making these awful groaning noises." 

She said that she and her husband were advised to go to Birmingham Children's Hospital, but to reach there Riley needed to be intubated -- and the doctors weren't sure if he would survive that. 


Doctors in a hospital hallway | Photo: Shutterstock

If he wasn't though, he would surely die, so they intubated him. They made it to Birmingham where about 30 people were waiting for them. They told Beth, 23, that her child would survive. 


Yet Beth explained: 

“Riley’s heart function was practically non-existent. His heart was failing, you could tell just by looking at him. Riley was dying right in front of our eyes.”

A diagnosis needed to be done first, and it required a heart catheterization--- another risky procedure. Again, Riley survived the 50-50 risk and doctors determined that he had pulmonary artery stenosis. 


For the next step, Riley would need to do another risky operation. According to his 24-year-old father, they were given two options: "take him back to intensive care and let him go, let him die in our arms; or do the surgery." 

He added: 

"But [the doctor] said he was pretty certain Riley would die on the operating table. I wanted a number for his chances and the surgeon said two percent."

Beth and Jordan did not want to wonder "what if" for the rest of their lives, so they chose to "give him the best chance to survive." “It was an awful decision to have to make on the spot, but he had fought this far," Jordan said.


Riley spent 12 hours on the operating table. He had a stroke during surgery that left areas of his brain undeveloped. In the end, he came out of it alive, and doctors said that his brain will hopefully repair itself. 

The smiling tot is not out of the water as he has at least one more surgery to do. Still, his constant smile is a source of joy for his proud parents and his big sister, Millie. 


As he approached his one-year birthday, Riley is hoping to win a Sentinel Our Heroes award, given to young children who showed courage. After so many battles, his parents are sure that he deserves it. 

Beth said: 

“When Riley came round on the ventilator he was smiling straight away. Riley is a living, breathing miracle, one heartbeat at a time, who is continuously happy no matter what life throws at him. He’s our heart warrior.”

Another little boy who was dubbed a miracle was Dylan Askin from Britain. In 2015, one of Dylan's lungs collapsed and he sunk into a coma. He was plagued with multiple illnesses and complications including Langerhans cell histiocytosis, then a pneumonia infection. 


His chance of surviving looked grim, and he was put on life support. At two, Dylan's parents prepared to take him off life support under advice from medical authorities. But right before they did, they saw that the young boy's heart rate was normalizing.

"Stop!" Dylan's mother screamed. Over time, the young boy stabilized and his revival was called an Easter miracle. Of course, there are other miraculous stories of recovery. 

Claudia Martinez, 28, was a Medical student in Houston, Texas who underwent six brain surgeries at the very hospital she studied in. She had Chiari Malformation.


The young woman pulled through all of it and finished with a 4.0 GPA. Her amazing experience led her to the University of Texas. She also organized a walk to raise money for more research into her disorder.


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