Monday, July 13, 1998 Published at 15:55 GMT 16:55 UK
Brain surgery? I'll look in the toolshed
Dr Steve Hindley: outback hero
A British GP saved a man's life in the Australian outback by performing brain surgery with a rusty drill found in a school tool shed.
The 23-year-old had collapsed after hitting his head in a collision with another player. McGlinn remembered nothing of the collision, but developed a headache and had several seizures.
As his condition worsened Dr Hindley realised he had to act quickly to relieve pressure on the brain from a blood clot.
With no facilities to perform the intricate neuro-surgery operation he had to improvise with a manual brace-and-bit drill normally used for DIY woodwork.
Afterwards Mr McGlinn was successfully transferred to a specialist unit where he is now recovering.
"At first he was just a bit confused and not talking properly but it very quickly became clear that he was bleeding in his skull and he wasn't in a good way.
"I had arranged to have him flown to the neuro-surgery unit in Perth but he was deteriorating so quickly it was pretty obvious he would have died before he got there."
He and his team of nurses did everything they could with the available medical equipment and drugs but Mr McGlinn's condition worsened and he stopped breathing at one point.
"It got to the stage when there was only one thing left to do and that was to drill a hole in his head to allow the clot to drain and stop the pressure building up.
"It's the kind of thing that most doctors know the principles of but not the practicalities.
"I asked them to find me a drill and initially they brought one from the town's dentist but we couldn't get it to work so then I said I didn't care what sort of drill they got me."
Mr McGlinn is now in a stable condition at the Perth hospital where spokeswoman Priscilla Fouracres said he owed his life to the British doctor.
She said: "The boy's condition deteriorated so quickly if he had not done what he did he would definitely have died before they got him to hospital."
The injured sportsman's father John described Dr Hindley's handywork as "the best bush medicine we have ever seen".
"The doctor saved our son. He's a real hero.
"We will never be able to thank him enough."
But Dr Hindley is keen to play down his role in the drama which has turned him into a celebrity in the town which is 300 miles southeast of Perth and has a population of just 300.
"It's nice to have helped but it's very embarrassing to be given the credit for something that was a team effort: other people did a lot to save his life, it wasn't just me.
"Nurses came in who weren't on duty to help out. He was a very popular lad and they all knew him and I thought they did extremely well."
Dissatisfied with NHS
Before his move to Australia Dr Hindley worked as a GP in Perranporth in Cornwall but decided to emigrate because he was dissatisfied working in the NHS.
His job in Ravensthorpe is only a four-week locum which ends in two weeks when he moves to a permanent job in Tasmania.
One of Dr Hindley's former colleagues in north Cornwall, Dr Peter Merrin, said: "I do not think anything would surprise me about Steve.
"He is someone who has always had confidence in his own abilities, and whose medicine has always been first class.
"He is not really afraid of any situation, and has got initiative."
Dr Merrin said surgery of that type was usually carried out at neuro surgical units, and it was "almost unheard of" for someone to carry it out "blind" without a brain scan - let alone a GP.
John Miles, senior neurosurgeon at the Walton Centre in Liverpool, said the operation performed by Manchester-born Dr Hindley needed "courage and good training".
"A blood clot like this is the biggest threat in any sort of injury in which a skull fracture has occurred.
"Quick action is totally critical - you can go from being completely awake to being dead in under an hour."