London - As medical treatments go, dunking a seriously ill baby’s head into a bucket of icy water sounds rather old-fashioned.
But doctors resorted to the extreme method when Holly Hutchinson’s heart rate soared perilously high to 320 beats per minute.
The therapy was aimed at shocking her heart into the correct rhythm as Holly battled meningitis.
Together with more modern treatments including powerful antibiotics, the medics helped the baby to pull through after just ten days in hospital.
She is now on the mend and back home with parents Jenny and Ian.
Speaking of the terrifying moment Holly began to deteriorate rapidly, Hutchinson said: "Right in front of our eyes we could see the blood retracting from her limbs to try and protect her core, making her go grey.
"It was absolutely horrendous to see our newborn become so ill, so quickly. Watching her being submerged in the water and be prodded with needles like a pin cushion is something no parent wants to see.
"It was so hard knowing there was nothing we could do. When we arrived at hospital we were taken into a side room and left there while they tried to save Holly’s life.
"We felt like we were there for an age, but we knew she was in the best possible place.
"Holly is a little legend, and she started to fight back after they shocked her heart and various other procedures.
"If we’d taken her to hospital 20 minutes later, she might not be here today."
He added: "It was only ten minutes until midnight on New Year’s Eve when we received the news that her heart had gone back into its normal rhythm and was stable. Suddenly fireworks were going off and people were cheering – it was surreal."
Holly was born on December 19 last year but became ill on Boxing Day and diagnosed with viral meningitis.
She was later discharged and sent home with her parents to Gateshead, Tyne and Wear. But on New Year’s Eve Mrs Hutchinson, a paediatric nurse, spotted her baby’s condition had deteriorated badly.
She took Holly to the Sunderland Royal Hospital where her heart rate rocketed to 320 beats per minute caused by an infection in her heart.
Holly was given the ice bucket treatment and powerful drugs before being transferred to Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, where the treatments were repeated and she was intubated.Daily Mail