A newborn boy who suffered three cardiac arrests within hours of being born has been given just five weeks left to live unless he gets a new heart.
Little Carter Cookson’s parents Sarah and Chris are clinging on to the hope he will be able to have the heart transplant he needs to save his life.
The couple are keeping a round-the-clock vigil at the two-week-old lad's bedside at Newcastle's Freeman Hospital.
-> 10-year-old Leeds boy died after kidney stones operation, inquest told of mother's anguish
He suffered three cardiac arrests within hours of being born two weeks early on Boxing Day.
Carter underwent a major op which saw surgeons attach a pacemaker to his heart to regulate its rhythm.
But the surgery hasn’t worked and he is currently hooked up to a machine that is keeping him alive while his parents are in an agonising race against time to find him a donor heart.
Carter's unexpected and devastating heart problems came as the cruellest of blows for Sarah, 43, and Chris, 40, who lost their first son Charlie in 2012 when he was just two-and-a-half.
The couple, from South Shields, have told of their devastation while issuing a desperate plea on Facebook.
Sarah, who runs a dance school, wrote: "Our boy has not responded to the surgery and the only way he will survive is if he gets a new heart or by some miracle, his heart begins to pump blood around his body.
“We need a heart in five weeks or we will lose our beautiful baby boy. I can't put into words how heartbroken we all are... but we will never give up on him."
The Cooksons set-up The Charlie Cookson Foundation in memory of their first-born son.
Charlie, who was born with a mysterious medical condition, spent much of his life in hospital.
When Sarah and retail worker Chris finally felt ready to try for another child the pregnancy was monitored closely by medics at the RVI.
After losing son Charlie, who spent his short life battling a series of serious conditions, the Cooksons described Carter's arrival as a 'miracle'.
But within hours of meeting Carter who was born at the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) the proud parents were confronted with a new heart-breaking ordeal - his heart was not beating properly.
-> CCTV captures moment banned Leeds dog walker hit client's dog
He was transferred to the Freeman and after surviving three cardiac arrests the little boy was attached to an 'Ecmo' machine to pump the blood around his body.
Then on Thursday, when he was just over one week old, Carter underwent surgery to drain one side of his heart and attach a pacemaker.
But the operation was not as successful as the family as first hoped and consultants have told Sarah and Chris, 40, that a heart transplant is Carter's only hope.
He now remains attached to the Ecmo machine but medics say he can only remain this way for six to eight weeks.
Sarah's close friend, Joanne Nicholson, 40, said: “Carter wasn’t born with anything and they had no idea he was going to be poorly.
“They are heartbroken. They went through this for two and a half years with Charlie who was their life. They are back into that zone again.
“Sarah and Chris are machines and do what they have to do. They haven’t been home since.
“Because Carter is so small, it’s a tiny heart doctors are after.
“He is on an Ecmo machine which is keeping him alive.
"It's only a miracle or a heart transplant that will save him now. Sarah and Chris are just in limbo at the minute.
“It’s heartbreaking to think someone has to go through heartache for Sarah and Chris to avoid their own.”