A MOTORCYCLIST who ‘died’ at the roadside following a crash has walked his daughter down the aisle just seven months later, thanks to doctors who performed open heart surgery at the scene.

John O’Brien was riding back from Llangollen to his home in Great Sankey on October 7 last year when a car pulled out on him, knocking him off his bike on the A556 at Delamere.

As an air ambulance arrived to fly the critically injured 47-year-old to hospital, he went into cardiac arrest.

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service’s medical director Dr Mark Forrest made the decision to open up the critically injured 47-year-old’s chest and massage his heart back to life by hand as he lay on the tarmac.

Northwich Guardian:

Paramedics who assisted in the procedure said at a reunion event at Northwich Fire Station on Tuesday that John’s survival was a once-in-a-career event.

Chester-based Neil Hayward said: “Everything just fitted – they had the doctors there with the skillset to carry out the procedure.

“It’s a last-ditch procedure. Basically, John had died and there was nothing else to lose.”

John was rushed to the major trauma centre at Aintree in Liverpool, where he underwent further lifesaving surgery as the terrible news began to reach his family.

His daughter Amy, a nurse herself, said: “I was expecting to get there and find he had passed away. Every passing hour was like an extra little achievement.”

John, who has no recollection of the day’s events, spent a month in intensive care, two months on the trauma ward and a month in rehab – rather than the three he was prescribed.

“I said ‘no, I will be out at the end of the month’,” construction worker John said. “That’s how determined I was to get out, get home and continue my recovery.”

Northwich Guardian: John with his daughter on her wedding day John with his daughter on her wedding day

The motorbikes are gone, and John – who has further operations lined up in the near future – has had to learn to write and walk again from scratch.

Having set himself goals throughout his recovery, the big one was walking Amy down the aisle at her wedding on May 11.

She said: “It was really emotional. He was determined to walk me down the aisle without his stick, to link my arm and support me – it was fantastic.

“I’m incredibly proud of the journey he has been on and how determined he has been.

“When people have these accidents you never expect them to meet people behind the scenes who worked on them at the roadside.

“You do often think I wonder what they are like, what their experiences are, but you never think you will meet them and we’ve been so excited these past few weeks.”

Northwich Guardian: The scene after the crashThe scene after the crash

Dr Forrest, the fire service’s medical director, works at Warrington Hospital and regularly responds to 999 calls.

He said that while the procedure is rarely successful, it was the only option.

He said: “John has undoubtedly played a big part in his own recuperation since then. He has obviously worked really hard to get to the level of fitness he is right now. It will have been a tough road to recovery so his determination is commendable.”

Northwich Guardian:

The pair shared an emotional reunion, with Dr Forrest telling John he was a lucky man before being awarded a Chief Fire Officer's Commendation by Mark Cashin.

John said: “It’s just absolutely amazing to meet the people who saved my life. I can’t thank Dr Forrest and everyone involved enough for helping me that day.”