Fabrice Muamba and the Doctors
March 22, 2012 9:40 AM   Subscribe

Last Saturday 23-year old professional soccer player Fabrice Muamba suffered cardiac arrest while playing in front of a packed stadium. The medical staff rushed to his aid, as did a cardiologist who happened to be in the crowd. Muamba's heart was stopped for 78 minutes, but he survived and seems to be making good progress. Here, the doctors involved tell their remarkable stories of the incident.
posted by philipy (47 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
I love any "Is there a doctor in the house?" moment. This fits the bill. Great story.
posted by RolandOfEld at 9:47 AM on March 22, 2012


Please delete this post: The Guardian feels it isn't notable.
posted by yerfatma at 9:48 AM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I watched this match live on Fox Soccer. It was really terrifying. I'm glad he's doing better and continuing to make progress. And, it was nice to see the football community come together and show support for Fabrice Muamba and his family.
posted by anoirmarie at 9:52 AM on March 22, 2012


So instead of congratulating itself on its eminently civilised reaction to poor Muamba's suffering, the football family might instead care to wonder to what a pretty pass things have come for a basically humane reaction to be deemed so remarkable.

I guess Marina Hyde doesn't understand how social norms are formed in the first place, and then reinforced?
posted by chavenet at 9:54 AM on March 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well, he just made up for every fake dive ever taken on the pitch. Is there any news on his prognosis?
posted by Burhanistan at 10:04 AM on March 22, 2012


it isn't just the football community, I've rarely overheard so many positive comments in public spaces since I moved to the UK. I don't even remember this kind of public sharing during the announcement of the Olympic bid in London's favour. Two old ladies at the supermarket check-out yesterday saying "Did you hear, he woke up, remarkable!" Everyone within hearing distance knew exactly who they meant due to the news coverage. A man in the next queue immediately took it up and there was a detailed discussion about how with him being young and fit there's always hope, etc., etc., by the time I joined the discussion there were 4 different parties who don't know each other from Adam discussing it, all wishing him well and hoping for a good outcome.

I've been in 2 different hospital corridors this week where medics were discussing the resus in detail just from what they'd observed on the TV, all saying very similar things to the old ladies.
The man who sells me my train ticket and knows where I work started asking me what I thought of his survival chances and long term health.... I could go on and on.

I don't know why I'm surprised, but I am, pleasantly so.
posted by Wilder at 10:10 AM on March 22, 2012 [12 favorites]


Like too many tragedies, this seemed to befall someone who stands out as being by all accounts a great guy and someone who has already overcome much.

He is a refugee from DRC who had to flee because of who his dad was, he had to learn English at age 11, and put himself forward to the Arsenal Academy on his own initiative while studying much harder than most youth athletes.

He will be a footballer who will be just fine if he recovers and that was his last match. But I hope he recovers.

Incredible that there was a cardiologist in the stands who jumped onto the pitch and steered him straight to the heart hospital at Bethnal Green, very nearby. Many many stars lined up to make the response almost textbook perfect from all parties.

Wow.
posted by C.A.S. at 10:11 AM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


yerfatma: "Please delete this post: The Guardian feels it isn't notable."

Not sure what her point is supposed to be. Smug sentimentality is obnoxious, but it's pretty clear that statistically, the guy just suffered the back-to-back equivalents of getting struck by lightning and then winning the lottery.

Having a heart attack at 23, or surviving with no pulse for 78 minutes, and then showing signs of good cognitive function just a few days later are both events with staggering odds against. The doctors and medics most certainly do deserve some sort of pat on the back.
posted by schmod at 10:11 AM on March 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


The Guardian feels it isn't notable.

There is an interesting conversation to be had about the culture of football, and what this incident might mean for it, but I didn't want to make that the focus of the post. Because there's a guy still fighting for his life.

I will hold my hand up and say that when I think of "Spurs fan", or any football fan really, it does not normally cross my mind that the likes of Dr Andrew Deaner come into that category. Clearly a very capable, very smart doctor and a heck of nice, friendly, down-to-earth guy.

Hopefully this will be some kind of watershed moment, much as something like that can be a watershed moment for an individual or a family, putting their normal priorities, irritations and bickerings into perspective.
posted by philipy at 10:12 AM on March 22, 2012


Not sure what her point is supposed to be.

I think the idea was the football world was being smug about how well it was behaving over this, rather than the doctors. But I don't know where that idea came from either.
posted by philipy at 10:15 AM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't even remember this kind of public sharing

I hadn't realized it was such a national moment, not just a moment for the football community.
posted by philipy at 10:20 AM on March 22, 2012


His long term prognosis is unknown, but he has answered questions, made a joke (to the cardiologist who jumped onto the pitch later in hospital, which made him tear up).

He was technically dead for 78 minutes, so these are very good signs of his cognitive state. No idea how impaired he might be from the lack of oxygen.
posted by C.A.S. at 10:22 AM on March 22, 2012


Marina Hyde again:
I wish I couldn't already picture the mawkish segment that will feature in December's Sports Personality of the Year, introduced by Gary Lineker with that terrible, gear-crunching change in tone as he recalls "one week in March that showed how united we really are". Yeah, it was the worst of times, but it was also the best of times. Well done EVERYBODY.
For me, this is the salient point. 99.99% of the people in the stadium had nothing to do with saving his life. 99.9999999999 etc% of the people praying for him on Twitter and elsewhere had nothing to do with it. Yet somehow we're "united" and deserve congratulations for ... what? not hoping he'd die?
posted by desjardins at 10:27 AM on March 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


While it may seem overdone or even false to some, the sense of "collective humanity" that was felt by those in attendance and watching/listening, however fleeting, is a good thing. I have not read or heard of anyone involved in Premier League football mentioning how great "they" or "we" reacted to the situation, just well-wishes/thoughts/prayers.

A man essentially died doing something he loves and that many love to watch him do in front of a few million people. It is that "humanity" in which we feel that we were part of something, that we were rooting for him to recover, that maybe our prayers to *deity* were answered, and that maybe, maybe, maybe...a bright, and by all accounts, decent, man would live another day.

TL;DR Marina Hyde can suck it.
posted by kuanes at 10:37 AM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Marina Hyde = Grumpelstiltskin
posted by nathancaswell at 10:38 AM on March 22, 2012


I don't think anybody wants congratulations or whatever, just recognition that they all did share this moment, even if only as passive onlookers.

It isn't different from any other moment of shared national tragedy, like hearing about the Belgian school children who died in a bus crash a few weeks back, or about those Jewish kids killed in Toulouse.

What's more, it's a story with a happy ending, which is always a bonus

This is one of those things humans do and smug gobshites, or Marina Hyde but I repeat myself, look down upon.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:39 AM on March 22, 2012


Are we sure Marina Hyde doesn't have an account here? She's always seemed like somebody whose superior parade-raining-upon skills would make her fit in just fine as a MeFite, and she wouldn't be the first Grauniad columnist to come over here to play too.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 10:53 AM on March 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


I haven't noticed anyone congratulating themselves or being smug.

If anything, everyone is in awe of the doctors, while the doctors themselves are very British in their self-deprecation.
posted by philipy at 10:58 AM on March 22, 2012


TL;DR Marina Hyde can suck it.

I think the preferred rendering of the idiom in Metafilter would be, "Christ, what an asshole."
posted by Naberius at 11:16 AM on March 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't know, I can kinds of see Hyde's point (fuzzy though it may be through her sarky schtick); the idea that this – or the death of Princess Diana or that of Churchill or ... whoever – "brings people together" and thus football, as a culture deserves to be applauded for how much they care, is a bit self-congratulatory.

There's also – and forgive me if I'm reading to much into this – the fact that football, from clubs through to commentariat through to the terraces – has a history of racist behaviour towards minority players, and that's something that's been heavily covered of late, with John Terry's behaviour, not to mention the Suarez/Evra hoo-ha. But look, football – much like America because it's now got a black president – can't be racist. I mean look how much we care about Muamba, and how him dying for 78 minutes brought us together!
posted by Len at 11:31 AM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why the ex Sun columnist, Guardian celebrity commentator and daughter of Sir Alastair Edgcumbe James Dudley-Williams can't see anything special in the story of a 23-year-old refugee from DRC who holds the record for England Under-21 appearances having a massive heart attack in front of a live global TV audience being "dead" for 80 minutes and recovering to be able to joke with the doctors after a day or so I don't know..

I did like this from the comments on her column though.

"That is a funny bit from Chris Rock. I love it when Marina Hyde goes black. Like that segment she did on TV about The Wire from a council estate (in Britain)"
posted by fullerine at 11:57 AM on March 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, Piers Morgan, really?

Ewwww
posted by fullerine at 11:57 AM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


There is a nice piece on Grantland about Fabrice. He still has a tough road to go. (The article also linked to the Wikipedia's List of association footballers who died while playing which I found sobering).
posted by bluefly at 12:07 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, Piers Morgan, really?

something something the company we keep...
posted by ob at 12:21 PM on March 22, 2012


This isn't directly related, but on the same weekend, Kilmarnock won their first ever Scottish League Cup, beating league leaders Celtic in the final. At some time around the final whistle, the father of Kilmarnock and Scotland under-21 midfielder Liam Kelly suffered a heart attack and died. It's a tragic story that understandably hasn't received much attention with Muamba's collapse, but worth noting for those who were unaware.
posted by smcg at 12:35 PM on March 22, 2012


bluefly: (The article also linked to the Wikipedia's List of association footballers who died while playing which I found sobering).

I understand that data may not be fully available for past decades, and that football as played now is quite different from football played in the 1950s. Even so, that is astonishing. There are 43 players listed who died before 2000. Since 2000, there are 42, including plenty at a high level: Dani Jarque, Antonio Puerta, Marc-Vivien Foé, and Miklós Féhér are just a few of them.
posted by smcg at 1:00 PM on March 22, 2012


I'm surprised (in a good way) that they continued to work on him for that long. Most of the doctors that I worked with when I was an EMT would have called it at 30-45 minutes of CPR/defibrillating unless it was a young child. And for him to regain any sort of cognitive function after that is nothing short of miraculous.
posted by kamikazegopher at 1:21 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why the ex Sun columnist, Guardian celebrity commentator and daughter of Sir Alastair Edgcumbe James Dudley-Williams can't see anything special in the story of a 23-year-old refugee from DRC who holds the record for England Under-21 appearances having a massive heart attack in front of a live global TV audience being "dead" for 80 minutes and recovering to be able to joke with the doctors after a day or so I don't know..

But that's not what she's saying. She's saying that football fans shouldn't be congratulating themselves for their response to the incident. That everyone just reacted the way that you would expect people to react. She's not saying that there's nothing remarkable about what happened to him, just the reaction.

(I can't believe I just defended Marina Hyde....)
posted by Infinite Jest at 1:42 PM on March 22, 2012


Am I totally off-base here or isn't it a little weird calling him a refugee? Or at least being very sympathetic to his standing as a refugee? His father was a senior figure in the Mobutu regime - this ain't exactly friend-of-Allende territory.

Like it doesn't quite ring right to me. I don't know. I mean its not like Kabila was Allende either.
posted by JPD at 2:41 PM on March 22, 2012


Am I totally off-base here or isn't it a little weird calling him a refugee?
All the other terms I thought of seemed horribly loaded.
But that's not what she's saying. She's saying that football fans shouldn't be congratulating themselves for their response to the incident. That everyone just reacted the way that you would expect people to react.
Perhaps I should be grateful for Marina Hyde's continued fight to speak truth to power, like in her Lost in Showbiz columns.
posted by fullerine at 2:53 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


When I heard about this on Saturday I immediately thought of September '85. My grandfather had just died and after the wake most of the men and boys slipped away to watch Scotland's crucial World Cup qualifier against Wales. At the end of the match the cameras showed a glimpse of Jock Stein being carried down the tunnel. Under the circumstances, we weren't celebrating too loudly anyway, but I vividly remember the sober looks that returned to faces that had been briefly happy for the first time in days as word began to come through that it was serious. We got confirmation on the radio later that the big man was gone and the game that we'd been thinking, worrying, about all summer was suddenly insignificant. I'm so relieved Muamba got immediate attention from team doctors who have now trained for this eventuality, that he was lucky enough that an expert cardiologist was in the stands, that he was young and strong and whatever other factors contributed to his recovery. I'm not sure I understand Marina Hyde's issue with the response of the football community, it seems like she's trying to manufacture a column out of an issue that doesn't exist. Yes, fans invest far too much emotionally in what is basically a silly game. We let it hang over evenings when our team loses, we stress about upcoming fixtures, we can convince ourselves of global conspiracies of referees and officials whose sole purpose in life is to cheat us out of our rightful place at the top of the league. But when an event like this happens I know that football fans everywhere will put it in perspective. I haven't seen a tremendous amount of self-congratulations. I've seen a huge outpouring of support and relief that he seems to be doing good, but I never expected anything less.
posted by IanMorr at 3:23 PM on March 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Am I totally off-base here or isn't it a little weird calling him a refugee? Or at least being very sympathetic to his standing as a refugee?

Yeah, I guess maybe it would be more appropriate to say his family came for political asylum, but obviously when you call somebody an asylum-seeker, that has a whole different and ugly set of connotations in British discourse.

The only way it seems like a super-relevant distinction to make is in the sense that if you call him a refugee, it perhaps implies that his family was penniless and maybe living in a displaced-persons camp before they came, which was certainly not the case. I guess fullerine is right - there just aren't a lot of simple ways to refer to that situation in English that don't come with a huge amount of political or social baggage.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 3:40 PM on March 22, 2012


"Refugee" is an accurate term to describe people who sought refuge for political reasons, whatever their background. cf Wikipedia's list of (famous) refugees.

If you think "refugee" automatically means someone poor and impoverished, that's as much a stereotype as any tabloid caricature of "asylum seekers". Einstein was always classed as a refugee, for example.
posted by philipy at 4:24 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


poor and impoverished

Oops.

Poor, uneducated, incapable, and generally having to little to offer the countries in which they settle is the stereotype.
posted by philipy at 4:29 PM on March 22, 2012


wait where did I say "refugee automatically means someone poor and impoverished"

What I had issue with was the media narrative that he was a "courageous refugee fleeing the DRC" when really what they appear to have been was "Fallen Client family of one of the great Kelptocracies of the last 50 years". Yes they are doubtless by definition refugees.
posted by JPD at 4:41 PM on March 22, 2012


What you said is:

Am I totally off-base here or isn't it a little weird calling him a refugee?

Answer: Yes, you are off-base. No, it's not weird calling him a refugee.
posted by philipy at 4:54 PM on March 22, 2012


Uhm did you read past the first sentence? And where does that say "refugee automatically means someone poor and impoverished"
posted by JPD at 4:56 PM on March 22, 2012


So on what grounds would it be "weird calling him a refugee?"
posted by philipy at 4:59 PM on March 22, 2012


The narrative presented by the media that his family were "refugees escaping ethnic cleansing" is what I take issue with when the reality was that his father was an an advisor to a pretty pretty terrible regime who either fell out of favor or saw the end coming so got the hell out of the DRC.

I have no idea where you get the idea that I am some how making any sort of commentary about refugees in general. You seem to think I'm some sort of racist xenophobe. I mean don't you think you should assume someone posting here isn't that?
posted by JPD at 5:04 PM on March 22, 2012


A few years ago, football people made noises about reducing the number of games after a few high-profile cardiac arrests, but I don't think they went through with it. It's hard not to feel for stories like Antonio Puerta's.
posted by ersatz at 6:51 PM on March 22, 2012


Its true that his dad worked for a bad guy, but its not like there were lots of black hats and white hats in the former Zaire. Fabrice was sent to live with his uncle, who was then killed for sheltering him and his sister and mom, and he came to England aged 11 and settled in Walthamstow and a comprehensive school. I'm pretty sure that if he came with lots of plundered assets he might have picked a different and more privileged London life, as there are lots of those types here. No matter what type of power his dad was associated with I think its not completely offbase to describe him as a refugee from a pretty unpleasant situation.

Also, we should be thanking Jose Mourinho of all people, as when Peter Cech suffered a fractured skull a few years ago, he had to wait 30 minutes for an ambulance. Jose made some noise about the FA's preparedness, and from then on ambulances and more medics were stationed at every game.

There are too many football matches, but all it takes is one to expose preexisting conditions. Although Fabriced was screened once or twice, improved cardiac screening is the solution.
posted by C.A.S. at 1:20 AM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]




JPD, I never thought you were a racist xenophobe. I thought you had a stereotyped image of refugees, and that if someone doesn't fit your stereotype they don't deserve sympathy or really count as refugees.

It's perfectly possible, and in fact common, for people to have stereotypes of groups they are sympathetic towards. And it generally doesn't do the group in question any favors that you perpetuate the stereotypes about them, however sympathetic you are.

But if you think a 10-year old that gets uprooted from the world they knew and has to learn to function in a new country where they don't even know the language doesn't deserve some sympathy for that because of their father's (presumed) politics or wrongdoings, you are basically looking for excuses to justify your lack of empathy.

I don't know anything about Muamba's father other than what I read here, and it sounds like neither do you. For all I know he was a monster, and for all I know he was a would-be Gorbachev trying to change things from the inside. It doesn't matter either way for whether I have sympathy for his kid.
posted by philipy at 9:17 AM on March 23, 2012


There are too many football matches, but all it takes is one to expose preexisting conditions. Although Fabriced was screened once or twice, improved cardiac screening is the solution.

I'm not a medical person, but as far as I can gather screening can't be perfect as the manifestations of the condition can appear and disappear. And if you are at risk, a few games more or less is not going to make all the difference, you probably shouldn't play sport at that level at all, and maybe not at all.

It looks like more frequent screening would help though, while not being able to eliminate the problem completely.

What concerns me more is people who have the condition and aren't pro-sports players who are now likely to get extra screening. For example, this story: Schoolboy dies playing football.
posted by philipy at 9:37 AM on March 23, 2012






Because the Muamba story has drawn everyone's attention to the issue, we're now starting to see coverage of similar incidents:

... half marathon runner dies after collapsing at finishing line

... 47-year-old footballer has died after collapsing
posted by philipy at 6:22 PM on April 1, 2012


« Older The Dinner Party   |   Solve for Professor X Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments