HomeSportDoctors re-live Muamba ordeal

Disappointing Zim in playoff win

Three doctors re-live the critical moments as they fought to restart the 23-year-old’s heart.


On the pitch — Tottenham club doctor Shabaaz Mughal (SM):

“I was watching the game and saw Fabrice collapse. It didn’t look like from my view that there was anyone around him. No-one had made contact.

“I immediately felt I had to get onto  the pitch and grabbed our resuscitation bags and shouted across to the paramedics, Peter Fisher and Wayne Diesel, our head of medical.

“He’d already mobilised the paramedics so we ran onto the pitch and Jonathan Tobin and I found him face down, with the Bolton physiotherapist Andy Mitchell.”

Bolton Wanderers club doctor Jonathan Tobin (JT):

“As I was running onto the pitch I was thinking, ‘Oh my God, it’s Fabrice’. I know his family and consider him a friend.

“I wasn’t aware that players had gathered round and didn’t know that Owen Coyle, the gaffer, had come on.”

Tottenham fan Dr Andrew Deaner (AD), consultant cardiologist at London Chest Hospital, ran onto the pitch to help:

“We were watching and then the game stopped. I noticed that Fabrice Muamba had collapsed and I saw people running on and starting CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation).

“I managed to persuade one of the stewards to take me down.

“I could see they were doing very good CPR. They had the defib ready. Someone was doing the airway, so there wasn’t a great deal for me to do.”

SM: “We turned him over and he appeared to take a couple of gasps and became unresponsive. Immediately you’re focused on the CPR and that training just kicks in.

“The chest compressions are helping to pump the blood around the body, the oxygen and the ventilation aims to oxygenate the organs, and the defibrillator is to shock the heart into its normal rhythm.

“We do extensive training for this scenario — the worst-case scenario. You have no real awareness of the crowd because you’re so focused on the actual resuscitation.”

JT: “It wasn’t until 35 000 voices united to start singing Fabrice Muamba’s name that anything from the outside environment penetrated the focus.”
SM: “The players were very upset.”

AD: “Very soon after that we decided to take him off the pitch.”

In the tunnel — AD: “He was scooped up by the paramedics and we ran into the tunnel.
“I think there was another shock in the tunnel.”


JT: “He had two shocks on the pitch and one further shock in the tunnel.”

In the ambulance — JT: “Fabrice had, in total, 15 shocks. He had 12 shocks in the ambulance.”

AT: “Throughout the resuscitation period, you are worrying.

“You know the longer the resuscitation goes on, the less chance there is of survival.

“Jonathan and the paramedic carried on doing the CPR while I got access to two veins.

“We had some drugs available and I was able to give those.”

JT: “There was (paramedic) Peter Fisher, who was maintaining the airway at one end, and there was Andrew putting in IVF (Intravenous fluids) access and giving drugs, while the ambulance is swaying from side to side and going round corners at speed.

“I had a paramedic braced against the back of the ambulance and holding my hips because I had my football boots on.

“With all of these things you adapt but it was pretty intense all the way through.”

At the hospital — AD: “We had the London Chest Hospital ready for us. They’d been listening to the match on the radio and had been wondering whether he’d be arriving.

“We went straight into the lab and I put a bigger line into a vein under his shoulder blade and quickly scrubbed up.

“We got access to arteries and a bigger vein and carried on giving shocks and drugs.”

JT: “Once we got to the hospital I was no longer part of the hands-on crew and it was when I took a step back that everything that just happened hit me.
“I went into the corridor and cried, and then I came back in to watch what these guys were doing. They were phenomenal.”

AD: “It’s very unusual to look after a very fit 23-year-old, who’s been playing football for 40 minutes before he collapsed, and having CPR started almost immediately by people who are trained.

“All his blood vessels were already diluted and he had all the enzymes that help muscles perform to their absolute optimum, and maybe that protected him.

“Something happened that meant he survived.”

JT: “It was a further 30 minutes in the hospital that they were working on him — without his heart beating and without him breathing. In effect he was dead at that time.”

AD: “If you are ever going to use the term miraculous, I suppose it could be used here.”


Saturday: Chelsea V Tottenham, Arsenal V Aston Villa, Bolton V Blackburn, Liverpool V Wigan, Norwich V Wolves, Sunderland V QPR, Swansea V Everton, Stoke V Man City
Sunday: West Brom V Newcastle
Monday: Man Utd V Fulham —  BBC Sport.

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