The Little Boy Who Came Back From The Dead

The Little Boy Who Came Back From The Dead

Sound asleep in bed, his cheeks pink and his hair tousled, little Jago Worrall is the picture of childish health and contentment.

The Little Boy Who Came Back From The Dead

‘When I see him like this, I can almost pretend nothing has happened,’ says his mother Lyn.

But when Jago wakes up, the illusion is impossible to sustain.

He is likely to have a seizure, or cry uncontrollably from the discomfort of the tube that delivers nourishment into his stomach.

He can’t walk or talk.

And although Lyn, 38, a luxury goods sales and marketing consultant, thinks her son recognises her, she cannot be sure.

Jago, who turned two last Saturday, is the victim of a near-drowning that has left him with a serious brain injury.

One sunny Sunday in March this year, while his parents were preparing lunch, hewandered away from the nanny who was minding him and fell into the garden pond.

‘The irony is that we considered ourselves very careful, hands-on parents,’ says Jago’s father Barney, 44, commercial director of a large asphalt firm.

‘Our children are the centre of our lives: everything was planned with them in mind.’

The Worralls have two other sons — Riley, eight, and Ferdie, four — but had always been particularly cautious when it came to Jago.


‘He was a warrior,’ says Lyn.

‘He was walking at 11 months, he was running, letting go of my hand, trying to run out of the front door. He was always desperate to get to the next stage.

'It was heart-stoppingly scary sometimes. I’d come in and find he’d climbed on to the kitchen table.

'His brothers were never like that.’

When they moved to live with Barney’s mother in her large home in Welton, Northants — in order, ironically, to give their sons a freer, better life — they were alert to the potential risks of the 13 ft-wide garden pond.

‘We would have drained the pond but the children wanted to keep the ducks,’ Lyn explains.

‘One of Jago’s first words was “Quack-quack”.’

She smiles ruefully.

‘The workmen were booked to come the following week to fence it in before the weather improved and the children wanted to play outside.’

But March 11 was an unseasonably beautiful day. Friends had come to stay with their children, bringing their nanny with them.

She took Jago and Ferdie to play on the trampoline while the parents were making brunch. Riley was away, staying with his grandparents.

Lyn recalls: ‘They all came in to eat, and I said, “Where’s Jago?” The nanny said: “Oh, haven’t you got him?” — and that was when I just ran.’

When she reached the pond, which lies hidden behind a clump of trees, she saw him floating face down in the water and plunged straight in.

‘He was blue and floppy and he wasn’t breathing,’ she says.

‘In my mind, he had gone.’


Lyn had taken a first-aid course when Jago was four months old, but faced with trying to resuscitate her son, she found herself unable to put her skills into practice.

‘I couldn’t do it. He wasn’t alive and that was all I could see,’ she says.

‘I couldn’t even walk. I crawled on hands and knees back to the house.

'The noises that were coming from me were like when I gave birth.’

Barney, meanwhile, was trying to give his son artificial respiration, but his only knowledge came from watching TV dramas.

‘I tried and tried and tried,’ he says sadly.

Within ten minutes the police arrived and began desperately trying to revive the toddler in the front hall.

After 20 minutes, the paramedics arrived and started massaging Jago’s heart, putting a tube into his lungs to drain away the water.

Unable to bear the sight, his parents retreated to the sitting room to grieve for the son they thought was dead.

And then, miraculously, 65 minutes after Lyn had first found Jago in the water, one of the paramedics shouted: ‘I have a pulse!’

Barney called out to his wife: ‘It’s not over.’

Even now, Barney is in tears at the memory.

‘I couldn’t believe it,’ he says.

But Jago’s struggles were only just beginning. He was transferred by air ambulance to Coventry Hospital, where his heart stopped for a few minutes once more — but again he was resuscitated.

He was then moved to the intensive care unit at University Hospital, North Staffordshire.

‘Eventually,’ says Lyn, ‘the doctor came in and told us: “There are several things that might happen.

'First, he won’t survive the night. Or he will survive, but with severe brain damage.” That hadn’t even crossed my mind.’

Later, they were told Jago’s chances of survival were just one per cent.

Do they ever feel it might have been better if Jago had slipped quietly away?

‘No,’ says Lyn firmly. ‘I remember how frightening that was — the idea of him being put into the ground.

'No matter how frightening this is, I still get to hold him and see him, and I hope Jago can get some quality of life back.’

In many respects, his progress since then has been astonishing. He began breathing on his own after just a few days.

He is now able to swallow pureed food from a spoon (although he can’t consume enough to keep himself healthy, hence the feeding tube). His eyesight seems to be unimpaired, he responds to music and he can sit up and lift his head. He even appears to be vocalising.

‘He is babbling at night,’ says Lyn. ‘And the other day when I kissed him goodbye, I think he said “Mama”. It’s hard to know if he means it, but the nurse had tears in her eyes.’

But despite such milestones, Jago’s prognosis is frustratingly uncertain.


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