Birmingham & Black Country

Wednesbury man who 'died' 27 times praises hospital staff

Ray Woodhall and the medical staff who saved him Image copyright Worcestershire Royal Hospital
Image caption Ray Woodhall (front row centre) has returned to hospital to thank the medical team that saved him

A man who had a heart attack after playing six 10 minute games of "walking football" says he "died" 27 times in hospital.

Ray Woodhall, 54, said he suffered so many cardiac arrests a nurse apologised for having to beat his chest so much.

He said another nurse told him the most resuscitations she had seen for a patient in arrest was seven.

Mr Woodhall, from Wednesbury, West Midlands, estimates he needs six months to fully recover from his ordeal.

"My last arrest was the most frightening," said the father-of-three who was treated at Worcestershire Royal Hospital which confirmed it activated an out-of-hours team of six specialist staff to address "multiple cardiac arrests".

Mr Woodhall said his partner was holding his hand when "the alarm went off and I saw the crash team running in" and "she watched me die in front of her".

"Dying," he said, was "like falling asleep", which is what he thought kept happening until medical staff told him "you went".

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Media captionFather-of-three survives multiple heart attacks after playing "walking football".

He was first taken ill in the last match when he complained of "soreness" in his chest.

He initially refused an ambulance before agreeing when his discomfort persisted.

Paramedics told him he was having a heart attack and it was at hospital that the "arrests started".

Mr Woodhall said there was an operation to fit him with two stents and by about 21:00 GMT on the day he became ill, his family left his bedside before being called back amid concerns he would not survive the night.

Most of the cardiac arrests, he said, came between 21:00 GMT and 03:00 GMT the following morning.

Mr Woodhall, a distributor for a soft drinks manufacturer, praised an "amazing" nurse who told him "the most resuscitations I've ever done was seven".

His ordeal happened in December 2016. He says he is sharing his story to "give credit" to the hospital to which he has returned to see those who saved his life.

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