Biker’s Chest Sliced Open By Doctor Who Massaged His Heart Back To Life

by : Emily Brown on : 25 May 2019 15:25
Doctor saved man's life by slicing chest open and massaging heartDoctor saved man's life by slicing chest open and massaging heartCheshire Fire and Rescue Service

A biker has thanked the incredible doctor who managed to save his life by slicing open his chest and massaging his heart back to life after a horrific crash last year. 


47-year-old John O’Brien was involved in the motorcycle accident in Delamere, Cheshire in October 2018. Emergency services raced to the scene, but just as the father was about to be put on an air ambulance, he suffered a cardiac arrest.

The medical team, led by Dr Mark Forrest, had to work quickly to save his life. While still at the scene of the accident, the team pushed fluid into John through drips.

Doctor saves man's life by massaging heartDoctor saves man's life by massaging heartCheshire Fire and Rescue Service

His chest was de-compressed to try and restart his heart, but when the attempts were unsuccessful, Dr Forrest decided they had to operate there on the roadside, the Liverpool Echo report.


The 47-year-old’s chest was sliced completely open, exposing his heart and lungs, to allow treatment of his internal bleeding and lung injuries.

The medical team massaged John’s heart to try and encourage it to start beating again, and, incredibly, their efforts were successful.

Recalling the tense situation, Dr Forrest said:

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

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.

Within a matter of minutes John’s heart was beating strongly, and his bleeding had been controlled. He was then loaded into the air ambulance and flown to Aintree hospital, where he received further life-saving surgery.

Thanks to the hard work of the emergency services, this month John was able to attend his daughter’s wedding. The BBC report the 47-year-old, who also broke his back and suffered major injuries to his pelvis, neck and wrist put ‘100 per cent focus’ into walking his daughter Amy down the aisle.


John attended an evening reunion with those who had helped save his life at Northwich Fire Station this week, where he thanked everyone involved.

He said:

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.

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

Dr Forrest was given a commendation by Cheshire’s Chief Fire Officer Mark Cashin for his work on the day of John’s crash. The other doctors, firefighters, paramedics and police involved also attended the event.

Life saver Dr Forrest added:

John has undoubtedly played a big part in his own recuperation since [the crash]. 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.

Those who responded to the accident certainly did an incredible job!

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: Life


Liverpool Echo and 2 others
  1. Liverpool Echo

    Biker's chest sliced open on road by doctor who massaged his heart back to life

  2. Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service/Facebook


  3. BBC

    Biker thanks roadside open heart surgery doctor