Tiny Leeds premature baby's life was saved by paramedic after home birth

A premature baby born at home weighing just 720 grammes in 2007 is now a Leeds schoolboy who wants to track down and thank the paramedic who saved his life.

By Mark Lavery
Tuesday, 16th November 2021, 6:05 am

Matthew Kandziorra defied the odds to survive after he was born more than 14 weeks early on the bathroom floor of his parents' home in Leeds.

He 'died' on the way to hospital before a paramedic performed CPR and brought him back to life.

Matthew's mum Laura was just 25 weeks and four days into her pregnancy when she went into labour at home in the early hours of August 15 2007.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Matthew Kandziorra pictured at two months old next to dad Dawid's hand.

Tiny baby Matthew was delivered by his grandmother Renata Sawicka as his dad Dawid relayed instructions while on the phone to a 999 operator .

Matthew stopped breathing while being taken to St James's Hospital by ambulance and a paramedic performed CPR to bring him back to life as his parents looked on.

Matthew, who weighed just 720 grammes, fought for life after his early arrival.

Doctors battled to save Matthew and he had to undergo a blood transfusion before spending four months in hospital.

Matthew Kandziorra, 14, who was born 14 weeks early is seeking to find the paramedic who saved his life. Pictured with his sister Julia, 7 and parents David and Laura Kandziorra Pic: Bruce Rollinson

Matthew's overjoyed parents were finally able to take him home when he weighed 2.7 kilos just before Christmas 2007.

Now aged 14, Matthew, of Armley, wants to track down and thank the paramedic who saved his life.

Matthew, who is a student at Farnley Academy, said: "When I was born I weighed only 720 grammes and no one gave me a chance to live.

"However, today I weigh 48kg and I am 14-years-old and even though I am struggling with cerebral palsy, I'm still so happy and enjoy every single day of my life.

Matthew Kandziorra, 14, who was born 14 weeks early Pic: Bruce Rollinson

"The paramedic cut the umbilical cord and took me to the ambulance, unfortunately, on the short way to the hospital, I stopped breathing and died, but luckily the same heroic paramedic did CPR and saved my life."

Matthew, who has a seven-year-old sister called Julia, added: "After all these years, I can't stop thinking about this paramedic. I would like to find him and thank him."

Matthew said he hopes his story will "give strength to others to fight and never give up."

He said: "All the doctors from St James's Hospital said that it was a miracle that I survived and that from the information they have I am probably the only child in the whole UK born so early outside the hospital who survived - definitely the only one in Leeds until 2007."

Matthew Kandziorra, 14, who was born 14 weeks early Pic: Bruce Rollinson

Matthew's dad Dawid and mum Laura, both aged 34, were only 20-years-old when Mathew was born suddenly and unexpectedly.

Laura woke up suffering pain in her stomach at around 2am that morning.

Dawid ran to fetch his mother Renata, who lived nearby, and she helped Laura while Dawid dialled 999.

They soon realised the baby was going to be born before they had a chance to get Laura to hospital.

"Laura was lying on the bathroom floor and my mum delivered him while the operator gave me the steps we needed to follow," said Dawid.

"I passed the messages on and whatever she told me I passed that to my mum."

Dawid said when paramedics arrived baby Matthew was taken straight to the ambulance and both he and Laura went with him to hospital.

"He died in the ambulance and the oxygen didn't go to his brain," said Dawid. "The truth is that this paramedic saved his life."

Dawid said the paramedic came to see Matthew and the family the day after.

Fighting back tears, Dawid said: "He is a hero. He saved my son's life. If I could see him I would say thank you.'"

Dawid said the couple were told that Matthew had suffered brain damage.

His development was delayed and he suffers from cerebral palsy.

Matthew has some mobility problems and earlier this year he underwent an operation on his right hand.

Matthew has told his story ahead of World Prematurity Day, which takes place tomorrow (Weds Nov 17).

World Prematurity Day is a global movement to raise awareness of premature birth and the sometimes devastating impact it can have on families.

Bliss, a charity for babies born premature or sick, comes together with partners from around the world to talk about premature birth to raise awareness about the daily hurdles babies and parents face and overcome.

Bliss says that For every 13 babies born in the UK, one baby is born premature.

A spokesperson for Bliss said: "There are many parts of neonatal care that can go unspoken; from the overwhelming sounds of the unit to discovering how strong your baby is for the first time. It can make a big difference to read other people’s stories.

"That’s why we’re asking parents, family members, friends and healthcare professionals – anyone touched by the needs of premature babies – to share your #MyNeonatalStory and show families in neonatal care they’re not alone."