Doctor: Muamba was 'dead for 78 minutes'

Bolton medic hails 'miracle' as he reveals 15 electric shocks were needed to restart heart

These are still early days and this type of road to recovery can be fraught with setbacks but a full picture of Fabrice Muamba's emergence from catastrophic heart failure became clear last night, illustrating that his survival has been little less than miraculous.

As The Independent reported yesterday, Muamba's club, Bolton Wanderers, will fulfil their relegation fixture with Blackburn Rovers on Saturday and replay on Tuesday the FA Cup quarter-final with Tottenham Hotspur, which was abandoned after the 23-year-old collapsed on the pitch.

But as Owen Coyle, back in the North-west on Tuesday night, yesterday took his first training session since the traumatic events at White Hart Lane, the Bolton team doctor Jonathan Tobin revealed that the England Under-21 international needed 15 defibrillator shocks as medical staff took one hour, 18 minutes to get the heart beating again. Dr Tobin also told of the frenzied scenes in the ambulance on the way from White Hart Lane, the sheer physical effort in working on the player in that confined space – and his conviction that Muamba stood minimal chance of surviving, when he had arrived at the London Chest Hospital. Medical staff worked on Muamba for 48 minutes between his collapse and arrival at the hospital, last Saturday. A further 30 minutes were then needed to get his heart working on its own. "In effect, he was dead in that time," said Dr Tobin, who described breaking down in the hospital corridor when the seriousness of what had happened to the player hit home – and added that he had feared the worst.

Muamba received two shocks from the defibrillator on the pitch as medical staff from both clubs struggled to get his heart going. Recalling the moment he arrived at the player's side, as he lay face down on the ground, Dr Tobin said: "I can't begin to explain the pressure that was there. Fabrice was in a type of cardiac arrest where the heart is showing lots of electrical activity but no muscular activity. It's something that often responds to drugs and shocks. Fabrice had, in total, 15 shocks. He had 12 shocks in the ambulance."

Consultant cardiologist Dr Sam Mohiddin, who has been caring for Muamba at the hospital, said it was "extraordinary" for someone whose heart has stopped beating for as long as the player's did to make the kind of progress he has made. "Fabrice has continued to demonstrate positive signs of recovery and he has not only exceeded our expectations but also our hopes in the way he's recovered," he said. "But this remains very early in what could be a lengthy recovery period."

It was Dr Tobin who detailed the long period of struggle to get the player's heart started. Dr Tobin admitted he broke down in tears in the hospital corridor when the seriousness of what had happened to the player hit home – and added that he had feared the worst.

Dr Andrew Deaner, the cardiologist and Tottenham fan who leapt from his seat in the crowd and rushed on to the pitch to help the player, said: "If you're going to use the term miraculous, I guess it could be used here." He also described visiting the player after he had woken up, when Muamba was able to make a joke – at a remarkably early point in his recovery process. "I whispered into his ear 'What's your name?'" Dr Deaner said. When Muamba gave his name, Dr Deaner said to him: "I understand you're a very good footballer'. And he said 'I try'."

Dr Deaner said he had tears in his eyes at witnessing that sign of the player's sense of humour returning so soon. He also recalled how he had been watching the match with his brother when he saw Muamba collapse and doctors rush to his side. Turning to his brother, he said: "They're doing CPR. I should help." His brother agreed and so the father of three sprang into action. "Something sort of told me I should go down," he said. "Looking back, it wouldn't have been surprising if the guys there said 'Go away, we don't need anybody else'. But if you were going to make a film to teach people how to run a complex arrest, this would have been the one to film. One thing after another went right."

Reports last night said an Indian footballer died after collapsing on the pitch during a district-level league match. The 27-year-old Bangalore Mars striker D Venkatesh collapsed following a cardiac arrest at the Bangalore Football Stadium. With no ambulance available, his team-mates hired a tuk-tuk to take him to a local hospital where Venkatesh was declared dead.

News
people
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Sport
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
athletics
Sport
FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
music
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
News
news
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
voices
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam