Wednesbury man who ‘died’ 27 times praises hospital staff

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 games of 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 about six months to fully recover from his ordeal.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Ray Woodhall said he was resuscitated 27 times at the hospital – a “record” for one nurse

“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”.

He was first taken ill after playing six, 10-minute games of “walking football”, when, in the last match, he complained of “soreness” in his chest.

Heart attack

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

The ambulance driver, he said, told him he was having a heart attack – confirmed by the hospital.

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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