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‘Miracle’ footballer to open £1.5m heart centre

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: January 23, 2013

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A FORMER premiership footballer who nearly died after suffering a cardiac arrest during a game will be the guest of honour at the official opening of a new £1.5 million heart unit at Burton’s Queen’s Hospital.

Retired Bolton Wanderers midfielder will be on hand to cut the ribbon at the Belvedere Road site on Friday, February 1.

The state of the art cardiac catherisation laboratory and chest pain unit will mean patients can be treated for vital heart procedures on their doorstep, rather than travelling to larger centres.

Mr Muamba, who suffered a cardiac arrest during an FA Cup quarter-final tie against Tottenham last year, will share the official opening with members of a benefactor who left a bequest to help fund the new facility.

He said: “I am so delighted to be at the opening of this state of the art facility.

“I know it will be so important in providing such incredible care to those who need it for years to come.”

Mr Muamba’s life and death struggle on the pitch won him the sympathy of the nation as millions saw medics desperately trying to resuscitate the 24-year-old after he fell to the ground at White Hart Lane.

His heart having stopped for more than an hour and Cardiologists who helped save his life described his recovery simply as ‘miraculous’.

He will be sharing the opening honours with Davina Emmerson, who is representing the Thornley family.

A £700,000 legacy left in memory of Ernest Thornley, who was secretary of Burton General Hospital in the 1920s to 1940s, has helped fund the unit.

Burton Hospitals’ lead consultant cardiologist Howard Why said: “We have been overwhelmed by the response to the development of this unit.

“We are hugely appreciative to the Thornley family for their donation and to have Fabrice Muamba, who survived against all the odds, jointly opening the unit with Mrs Emmerson, is a really exciting event for the hospital which we hope will underline how beneficial this will be for thousands of patients in the coming years.”

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