17/05/2012 12:51 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Toddler Resuscitated 10 Times By Parents: Choking Risk Every Time He Eats

Toddler resuscitated 10 times by parents HotSpot Media

Meet Thys Bell, a very brave toddler who has had to be resuscitated 10 times by his mum and dad because of a rare condition which means the muscles in his throat do not work properly.

Thys, 15 months, has Tracheo-Oesophageal Fistula (TOF) - a condition that affects one in every 3,500 babies. The condition means the muscles in his throat do not work properly, meaning food can get stuck and Thys's airways can collapse.

Thys was rushed straight into surgery after birth because he was unable to clear his throat. There were also problems with his kidneys and he was unable to get rid of carbon monoxide from his body. His mum Emma did not get to see him for six hours, and in total the little boy spent two and a half weeks in the neo-natal unit.

But the drama didn't stop there. Thys' condition means his mum Emma, 31, and dad, Michael, 33, from Sutton, have had to perform CPR on their son at home when he fails to clear his throat.

"Since we brought him home he has stopped breathing at least 10 times. Each time he is unconscious, blue, not breathing and completely lifeless," Emma told her local paper.


We have to call for an ambulance, perform CPR and try to clear his airways. Sometimes it works straight away and he is fine by the time the paramedics arrive, other times he is still unconscious when he gets to the hospital.


Emma and Michael have received training from the Queen's Medical Centre (QMC) in Nottingham, and have been given help and support from the TOFs charity, but nothing can prepare them for the shock every choking episode brings.

"It is just as scary every time," says Emma. "It has been difficult because we can't really relax and go out and we need to always keep an eye on him.

"But the last time he was in hospital was in March so this is his longest period of not going to hospital so far. He needs an operation in May but hopefully he will have to go to hospital less and less now. As he gets older the oesophagus gets stronger but it is something he will have to live with all his life."

Emma and Michael are holding a local fundraising event next month as a way of saying thank you the QMC and TOFS.

For more information on Tracheo-Oesophageal Fistula, visit the TOFs website at