27 November 2013
Last updated at 10:05 ET
Medical teams at the Royal Derby Hospital fight to save the life of John Gilmartin
A man whose heart stopped 17 times within minutes is “incredibly unusual” to have recovered fully, doctors say.
John Gilmartin, 41, from Chaddesden, had his heart restarted 11 times on the way to hospital and six further times at Royal Derby Hospital.
Dr Gareth Hughes said in repeated-resuscitation cases the patient nearly always suffers neurological damage.
Mr Gilmartin, who is fit and had had no previous heart problems, said he was lucky to survive.
He said he felt unwell on the day, in September, and went for a lie down, before waking up in intensive care.
“I didn’t have any heart problems, I’ve always been fit and well,” he said.
“My family were terrified. The wife slipped me down on to the floor and performed CPR on me until paramedics came.
“There was a chance I’d have suffered brain damage without CPR.”
Paramedics had to repeatedly administer electric shocks to keep his heart going on the way to the hospital’s AE department.
‘Long and fruitful life’
He had a further six attacks during an operation to fit a small balloon pump inside his heart.
Dr Hughes, who was part of a team of 10 which saved Mr Gilmartin, said: “It’s incredibly unusual to have such a successful outcome that not only did he survive but survived completely neurologically intact.
“The fact that he’s quite young and probably has reasonable cardiac functions has helped him in this case in that we were able to recover it.
“There’s no reason why he shouldn’t go on to have a long and fruitful life, hopefully.”