Bolton Wanderers team doctor Jonathan Tobin says midfielder Fabrice Muamba was in effect dead for 78 minutes Saturday before his heart started beating again after he collapsed on the field during the Tottenham-Bolton FA Cup match.
“Fabrice was in a type of cardiac arrest where the heart is showing lots of electrical activity but no muscular activity," said Dr. Tobin. “It’s something that often responds to drugs and shocks. Now heaven knows why, but Fabrice had, in total, 15 shocks. He had a further 12 shocks in the ambulance.”
Muamba was transported to London Chest Hospital for treatment on the recommendation of a cardiologist, Dr. Andrew Deaner, who was watching the game in the stands and allowed to enter the field to help treat Muamba. Tobin said he never experienced the pressure to treat someone with 40,000 people looking on.
“I can’t begin to explain the pressure that was there,” he said. “This isn’t somebody that’s gone down in the street or been brought into accident and emergency. This is somebody that I know, I know his family. This is somebody I consider a friend. This is somebody I joke with on a daily basis. As I was running onto the pitch I was thinking ‘Oh my God, it’s Fabrice.'"
Deaner returned to visit Muamba, who is responding appropriately to questions and is able to make jokes. That he is doing so within five days of suffering such major heart trauma is amazing, according to Deaner. “If you’re going to use the term miraculous, I guess it could be used here,” he said.