A Rugby man who was brought back to life after clinically dying during a heart operation is urging others to adopt healthier lifestyles – and avoid his “terrifying” ordeal.
Maurice Wing, of Spring Street, found out only last week that doctors had to resuscitate him during the procedure, which took place in April.
The 70-year-old suffered a heart attack and had to be shocked back to life during a double coronary bypass graft at University Hospital, Coventry. But it wasn’t until last Wednesday that he discovered the full drama of what happened to him on the operating table.
Maurice said: “I went to the GP to get my tablets and I explained that my fingers felt cold and were tingling.
“The doctor said it could be to do with something that happened during the surgery so he checked the notes on the system and that’s when we found out what had happened.
“He turned to me and my wife and said ‘it looks like we lost you halfway through the operation’.
“I couldn’t believe it. I just sat there with my mouth open and couldn’t say a word.
“It turns out they had to shock my heart back to life – I was actually dead for a while.”
Mr Wing, who’s worked at Spring Street Social Club for many years, was taken to hospital on April 24 after suffering from severe chest pains.
“I’d been to work that night and felt absolutely fine”, he said.
“Then I woke up at 5.30am with pains and my wife June gave me an aspirin and a drink but it didn’t go away.
“She called an ambulance and they came within five minute, they were brilliant.
“The paramedic wired me up to machines and said I was having a heart attack.
“He looked at the hairs on my chest and said I was as furry on the inside as I was outside because my arteries were completely blocked”, he added.
Mr Wing had the major operation three days later on Sunday April 27.
“They don’t normally operate on a Sunday”, he said.
“But they said it was the best thing to do for me so it shows how well they looked after me and how good they were”, he added.
Mr Wing said he had no recollection of the ordeal at all.
He added: “The first thing I remember is seeing June after being out cold for a long time.
“We didn’t know anything unusual had happened until weeks afterwards.
“The staff at the hospital were amazing, they couldn’t do enough for me and gave me lots of information before the operation.
“At first I was surprised that they didn’t tell me I had died on the operating table but I understand that they wouldn’t want to scare me with something like that after I’d just had a heart attack and a big operation.”
After smoking 20 cigarettes a day since the age of 14, Mr Wing hasn’t touched a single one since the heart attack.
He said: “They gave me patches to help me quit while I was in the hospital but I didn’t even open the box because I don’t need them.
“I’ve quit for good and will never have another one again.
“I’d advise people to pack up smoking as soon as possible. I saw the state of my arteries and wouldn’t want anyone else to see theirs looking that bad.
“I had a heart attack in 1991 but it was nothing compared to this and the nurse told me that if June hadn’t been there to call an ambulance then I wouldn’t be alive now.”
Mr Wing’s daughter-in-law, Joanna Stewart, is the manager of Rugby’s British Heart Foundation shop.
She said the dramatic experience had made her realise how important the charity really is.
“I couldn’t believe it when I heard what had happened to Maurice because there hadn’t been any build up or warning signs, it was all very sudden”, she said.
“It puts things into perspective and has shown just how important the BHF is and how it changes people’s lives.
“Maurice wouldn’t have survived without the work of the BHF as they fund medical research, pay for equipment and many other things. They save lives like my father-in-law’s.
“I’ve been the manager here in Rugby for over two years and it’s taught me so much about the charity’s work and I know how important it is for people to support us.
“Everyone who donates their time volunteering, their money or stock for us to sell all help to fund life-saving work and we are so grateful.
“We’re always keen to take on new volunteers and would be very grateful for more stock donations from the community”, she added.
To arrange a furniture or appliance collection call the British Heart Foundation on (01788) 851420.