Mechanic whose heart stopped beating for 80 MINUTES brought back to life 'like a spluttering old Fort Cortina'
Father of two had massive heart attack in front of three paramedicsThey delivered 50 electric shocks to restart his heart on his way to hospitalDoctors operated on his heart to clear blocked blood vessel in heart while artificially keeping him aliveSpent nine days in medically-induced coma to prevent brain damage
14:46 GMT, 29 November 2012
A mechanic whose heart stopped beating for 80minutes said surgeons brought him back to life 'like an old Ford Cortina'.
Doctors were amazed when John Thompson, 60, made a full-recovery, despite being clinically dead for over an hour.
Cardiology consultant Dr Dominic Cox said: 'It’s very unusual to see
someone who was dead for 80 minutes or so while being artificially
supported then make a full recovery from it. I’ve seen nothing like this before.'
Thank you: John Thompson (centre) with his life-saving team. Ambulance crew Lisa Partridge, Harjot Singh and Sasha Tinston and cardiology consultant Dr Dominic Cox (right)
Paramedics rushed to the home of the father of two in Northampton, after he dialled 999 complaining of chest pains.
When they arrived at his house John collapsed in front of the three ambulance crew. They had carried John halfway down the staircase of his home when he had a massive heart attack.
The trio worked tirelessly for 30 minutes to resuscitate John and delivered 50 electric shocks to re-start his heart.
He was rushed to Northampton General Hospital (NGH) but when he got to the operating table he was declared clinically dead after his heart was unable to beat on its own.
But doctors refused to give up and operated on John, inserting two stents into a major coronary artery and a balloon pump in to his leg to support his circulation.
After unblocking the blood vessel which caused the cardiac arrest they administered a further electric shock.
Astonishingly, the father-of-two was brought back 'like an old Fort Cortina spluttering to life' – 80 minutes after his heart stopped.
John spent nine days in a medically-induced coma while doctors cooled his head to prevent brain damage caused by lack of oxygen.
Happy family: John Thomson, 60, with his daughter Holly, 28, right, and wife Anita, 55, left. Anita described hearing a 'death rattle' from her husband
Incredibly, John made a full recovery and yesterday met the paramedics and surgical team who saved his life in May.
He said: 'I can’t thank the medical team enough, from the paramedics to the surgeons. I’d had chest pains over the previous few days but, being a bloke, I ignored them.
'The paramedics got there so quick I was still on the phone to 999 control. So when I had the cardiac arrest they were leading me down the stairs.
'I don’t remember anything after that for 10 days. But I do know now they were absolutely amazing; there was not one weak link in the whole chain.
'I’m pleased to be here, I’m pleased to be anywhere, for me I’m a walking miracle, I’ve got a slightly different outlook on life, you think you’re invincible but it becomes apparent you’re not.
'I was like an old Ford Cortina that wouldn’t start but suddenly spluttered back into life. I can’t think of a better place to have a heart attack than in front of three paramedics.'
Recovering well: John says his wife now has to remind him to slow down
First responder Harjot Singh said that the team had to start performing emergency resuscitation after John passed out halfway down the stairs.
He said: 'John’s eyes were open while we were doing CPR on him – which has never happened before – and I remember being in two minds whether to shock him until Sasha (another paramedic) shouted at me to do it.
'Every time we pressed the button he screamed, but we carried on doing it all the way to hospital.'
John’s wife Anita said she was convinced her husband had died after hearing a ‘death rattle’ noise as he was being carried down stairs.
She said: 'I saw John before they took him into the ambulance, and it didn’t look good.
'He made this awful noise as they brought him down the stairs, like an injured dog yelping. He didn’t respond to me. I thought he’d gone. That was it.'
'When I asked what were John’s chances, the doctor couldn’t say. He said at this stage you must just take it hour by hour.
'We weren’t sure whether he would come out of the coma, or whether his brain would be damaged.
'His kidneys stopped working properly because of the weak heart output, and filtering them took out the drugs they were putting in.
'Having to lie still led to a chest infection. How he pulled through it all I don’t really know.'
Despite the fast treatment John received, medics at the hospital revealed they were not certain he would survive after his heart had stopped beating for such a long period of time.
Dr Cox said: 'What made the difference was that he had full CPR from the moment he suffered the heart attack and the chain of survival was unbroken from there to A&E to cath lab to ITU (Intensive Therapy Unit).
'When I was called my immediate reaction was that he could not be saved.
'Even after the operation, there were as many times I saw him dying rather than surviving. Everything worked out perfectly for him.
'If just one part of the chain had slipped, I don’t think John would have survived.'
John had a third stent inserted in September, and said he is hoping to return to work in the new year.
He said: 'I lost a lot of muscle mass during my time in hospital and I’ve been building back up to health slowly.
'I’ve been doing an awful lot of walking and I even borrowed an exercise bike recently.
'Since I had the third stent I’m up to full walking speed again – I have to remember to slow down so my wife can keep up with me.'