Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Biker thanks doctor who performed open heart surgery at roadside to save his life

John O'Brien and Dr Mark Forrest shared a hug as they met for the first time since the crash. Credit: Cheshire Fire and Rescue

A motorcyclist has been reunited with the doctor who performed open heart surgery at a roadside to save his life after a severe crash.

Not only did John O'Brien survive the ordeal, thanks to the impressive skill of Dr Mark Forrest, he recovered in time to be able to walk his daughter down the aisle.

"I can’t thank Dr Forrest and everyone involved enough for helping me that day and for doing everything they could to save my life," he said.

"I was lucky enough to be able to walk my daughter down the aisle recently and that’s all thanks to them."

His ordeal was caught on a body cam worn by one of the responders at the scene.

  • Watch it below:

Mr O'Brien had been badly hurt in the crash in Delamere, Cheshire, in October last year, suffering a broken back and major injuries to his pelvis, neck and wrist.

The NW Air Ambulance was among the emergency services to arrive on the scene, along with Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service Medical Director Dr Forrest.

The 47-year-old had been anaesthetised but went into cardiac arrest as they loaded him onto the helicopter, and with conventional resuscitation proving ineffective, Dr Forrest - the most senior doctor present - made the decision to perform surgery on the ground.

The crash happened in October 2018. Credit: Cheshire Fire and Rescue

"I arrived at the scene and was managing another casualty, when I noticed that the team were trying to resuscitate John, who had gone into cardiac arrest," Dr Forrest said.

"Despite the huge effort by the doctors, paramedics, firefighters and police officers, nothing was working and it wasn’t looking good for him.

"I joined them at John’s side and, after a very quick discussion, we knew that the only chance of saving this man was to open up his chest to manage his internal injuries and to massage his heart until it started beating.

"This is rarely successful, but we did want to at least try."

  • Watch him take his first steps on the road to recovery below:

Mr O'Brien's chest was cut open, exposing his heart and lungs, while Dr Forrest and other medics present tried to stem his internal bleeding, treating his lung injuries and massaging his heart back to life.

Incredibly, within a matter of minutes his heart began beating strongly again, and he was flown to the Major Trauma Centre at Aintree in Liverpool for more life-saving surgery.

Since then, he worked hard to recover from his injuries - his eyes on the prize of walking his daughter Amy down the aisle at her wedding on May 11.

Mr O'Brien was able to walk his daughter down the aisle. Credit: Family/Cheshire Fire and Rescue

The pair came face-to-face for the first time since the crash at a ceremony at Northwich Fire Station on Tuesday (May 21), where Dr Forrest was given a Fire Chief's Commendation by Chief Fire Officer Mark Cashin for how he worked to save Mr O'Brien's life that day.

In an emotional moment, they shared a hug, with Dr Forrest telling him: "Wow. You look a lot better than last time I saw you."

Mr O'Brien said he was "deeply grateful", and thanked him - and all the others who worked to save his life - from the "bottom of my heart".

John O'Brien (left) was there to see Dr Mark Forrest (right) given a commendation for the work he did saving his life. Credit: Cheshire Fire and Rescue