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Thursday, 4 October, 2001, 12:17 GMT 13:17 UK
Surgeon praised for life-saving battle
Michael Gaunt
Michael Gaunt had heard about similar survivals
A surgeon who battled to save the life of a man who had been "dead" for 40 minutes has been thanked with a poignant gift.

Michael Gaunt refused to give up trying to resuscitate Patrick Kelly-Sporle despite twice being told: "This man's dead."

Now Mr Kelly-Sporle and his wife, of Horseheath, Cambridgeshire, have presented the surgeon with a paperweight.

It would be overstating it to say it was a miracle Mr Kelly-Sporle survived, but it is certainly unusual

Michael Gaunt
Inside is a clock with the inscription: "The day you gave us back time."

Mr Kelly-Sporle's wife, Lynda, said: "That is what he has given us. Every day he is here is a bonus we shouldn't have had."

Her husband said: "Every day is like having a big gift wrapped in a big parcel. He is such a wonderful man."

Mr Kelly-Sporle had collapsed while visiting a clinic at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge.

An artery had burst in his stomach, filling it with blood.

For 40 minutes, he showed no signs of life but Mr Gaunt, 39, a vascular surgeon, persisted with his life-saving efforts.

He inserted a balloon catheter into Mr Kelly-Sporle's stomach and gently released the huge build-up of blood.

Brain damage fear

"Throughout my training I'd heard anecdotal evidence of people in similar situations surviving so I thought it was worth a try," said Mr Gaunt.

Patrick Kelly-Sporle
Patrick Kelly-Sporle regards every day as a gift
Mr Kelly-Sporle, who had not been given an anaesthetic, started to wake up after a few minutes.

"Even after his pulse and blood pressure returned there was still a chance that he could have suffered massive brain damage.

"As I tell trainees now, if somebody is dead it can't really get any worse for them," Mr Gaunt added.

Referring to the paperweight gift, he admitted: "I was completely overwhelmed and felt very humbled.

"It would be overstating it to say it was a miracle Mr Kelly-Sporle survived, but it is certainly unusual.

"If he hadn't already been at hospital with a resuscitation team on hand and an operating theatre I'm quite sure he would not have made it."

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