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.

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm today
News
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
Sport
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
tvThe Apprentice 2014 final
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'