Middlesbrough's academy doctor opens up on dramatic efforts to save Newcastle United fan who had gone into cardiac arrest
The doctor at the centre of efforts to resuscitate a Newcastle United fan at St James’s Park has spoken about the incident.
Yesterday’s home game against Tottenham Hotspur was temporarily suspended while Dr Tom Pritchard, assisted by a number of other doctors, gave CPR to an elderly man who had gone into cardiac arrest in the East Stand.
The supporter was last night said to be “stable and responsive” in hospital.
Dr Pritchard – who works North Tees Hospital, and has a part-time role at Middlesbrough’s academy – had gone to help with a friend from the Gallowgate end of the stadium. He was given an ovation when he returned to his seat after the fan had left the stadium on a stretcher.
“It’s something you see at work fairly often, but I haven’t really had this outside of the hospital before,” Dr Pritchard told BBC Breakfast. “There was an elderly gentleman laid out on the seats in cardiac arrest, and CPR ongoing.
"Luckily, St Johns were fairly quick, got the pads on quickly. Took over CPR.
"Another friend, Matty, who sits next to me came over as well, and we gave the guy a shock through the defibrilator. He was quite fortunate, as well, as very quickly an intensive care doctor arrived, a cardiologist arrived, and we were able to bring him back again.
“I had no idea what was going on behind me. I just went into overdrive, and focused on the matter on hand. When I got back to my seat, I had no idea the match had been stopped. I just focused on what was happening.”
Newcastle club doctor Paul Catterson went to assist after Tottenham’s Eric Dier ran to the home bench to ask for help.
Dr Pritchard said: “This wasn’t just me. I had a friend helping out, and the other two doctors. St John’s were brilliant, the club doctor came over to lend a hand.
"I would say when I was walking back to my seat and 10,000 fans from the Gallowgate were chanting hero at me, that was one of the best moments of my life.”
United last night issued a club statement, which read: “Newcastle United can confirm that a supporter who required emergency medical treatment during the club's Premier League fixture with Tottenham Hotspur is stable and responsive in hospital.
"The match was temporarily suspended during the incident, which occurred during the first half, and the supporter was awake and able to converse upon being transported to hospital.
"The club would like to thank fans for their swift actions in raising the alarm and praise those who provided immediate chest compressions, as well as thanking the on-site medical professionals who swiftly administered emergency treatment using a defibrillator located close to the incident.
"Newcastle United club doctor, Dr Paul Catterson, also attended the incident to offer additional support with an additional defibrillator.
"Our best wishes go to the supporter and their loved ones and we hope for a swift and full recovery.”
Newcastle head coach Steve Bruce said: “My thoughts are with his family, of course, that he makes a recovery, but all the early indications are that he’s going to OK.”