Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

Doctor John Mayhew recovering well following heart attack

Dr John Mayhew. Photo / Getty Images
Dr John Mayhew. Photo / Getty Images

Dr Mayhew I presume? Certainly a poster boy for cardio pulmonary resuscitation, early defibrillation and a decent chunk of fortune.

A week after a heart attack, the Warriors and former All Black doctor is out of bed, serving up droll advice and welcoming visitors into his Auckland Hospital ward.

His chest is sore from the trauma but Mayhew will take that and all the signs which point to a remarkable and full recovery after he collapsed and had to be resuscitated.

"I've been to the Pearly Gates, had a look and decided I'm better off back at work," he said.

"Only about five per cent of people who suffer what I did, survive, and there are messages for so many people for excellent care inside and outside hospital.

"The whole chain was there. I got Rolls Royce service. I was lucky it occurred where it happened and to get early defibrillation.

"My problem was recognised by a competent person who started doing CPR and then early use of a defibrillator from a local doctor's surgery."

Mayhew is talking about being on the Warriors sideline soon, assisting his brother Simon who has taken over the NRL work and Mayhew's general practice list.

"All this has been a surreal experience. Last Tuesday I was going along as normal and the week before had received my Order of Merit from the Governor-General and been made a life member of North Harbour rugby.

"I was almost the shortest term life member for Harbour-perhaps praise isn't good for me."

Originally his ONZM investiture for services to sports medicine was set down for today but the Warriors' match last night in Melbourne meant Mayhew asked for a change.

Instead he's getting an ICD (implantable cardioverter defibrillator) today which will detect any unusual heart rhythms.

Initially Mayhew went to North Shore Hospital and was ventilated to cool down his core temperature. A coronary angiogram showed a minor blockage which meant his transfer to Auckland for surgery.

He had a stent inserted and was in an induced coma for 36 hours before he was woken.
"Without being over the top I owe my life to so many people," he said.

"I could have survived and been brain-dead, I could have obviously died but for a number of very happy circumstances for me and so much good medical help from a number of people."

Mayhew was diagnosed with cardio myopathy about five years ago after a viral infection and there was some discussion then about having an ICD. That did not occur and he exercised regularly.

"I know this happened after a gym workout but I never pushed myself at those sessions beyond 80-90 per cent.

"The messages are about defibrillators and the more people who learn CPR and cardiac message benefits the community and I am an example of that."

The longtime GP has worked in cardio wards and resuscitated people and apart from knee and shoulder surgery is finding it strange to be on the other end of medical attention.

One of Mayhew's issues will be sorting out some transport details around a varied work schedule because he is not allowed to drive for the next six months.

"They have to be happy the defibrillator is going through its pre-flight checks okay and is working properly, so I can travel but not be at the helm."

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter


© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf03 at 22 Oct 2016 14:20:22 Processing Time: 608ms