A PENSIONER has praised staff at the Royal Bolton Hospital after his ‘miracle recovery’ from a heart attack.

Bob Atkinson suffered the attack at the hospital in October after being taken ill at home.

Doctors had to resuscitate him up to 19 times before transferring him to Manchester Royal Infirmary, where he was put into an induced coma and underwent surgery.

But three weeks later doctors told the 78-year-old's family he was not going to recover and transferred him back to the Royal Bolton to receive palliative care.

Yet medics at Bolton refused to give up on the former weightlifter from Westhoughton and in mid-December he was discharged after making an astonishing recovery.

Now Mr Atkinson, who is recovering well at home, is singing the praises of the ‘brilliant’ doctors, nurses and specialists who gave him a new lease of life.

The grandfather-of-two said: “The consultant at Manchester Royal Infirmary called my wife, son and daughter and gave the worst case scenario. He said ‘it looks like it’s chips, it looks like he’s finished’ and I was transferred back to the Royal Bolton.

“But when I got to Bolton the consultant said ‘we are getting this man back in the living world' – and they did."

Mr Atkinson recalls nothing about his ordeal up until the time he began to come round in the Royal Bolton.

He said: “The first thing I remember is waking up in the Intensive Care Unit and the staff there were absolutely brilliant with me.

“The compassion shown to me by that team was unbelievable.”

And he says that a male nurse on the ICU ward called Mark was particularly important to him.

“He was my link between not knowing and being aware,” said Bob.

"After I was taken from ICU, I was put on a recovery ward for a few days and then to the cardiac ward, where the nurses were so attentive it was unbelievable."

And he says the results of scans he underwent before being discharged amazed doctors.

He said: “Doctor Peter Scott thought maybe I may be able to go home but had to get the OK from MRI, who had done the stents.

“They called him the miracle man. They thought I had blood clots on the brain and was going to suffer brain damage

“When they did a heart scan the nurse said she was amazed. They had obviously seen something they didn’t expect — they were calling me Lazarus!”

But Mr Atkinson says that all praise for his recovery belongs to the staff at the Royal Bolton Hospital.

He said: "The story isn't really about me, it's about the treatment I got from the Royal Bolton.

"I'm just so grateful we have these skilled people."

Mr Atkinson's wife Christine, who used to work for the NHS added: "The care we got from that hospital was absolutely wonderful, and that's coming from a former clinical governance manager who knows about it.

"Let's celebrate the excellent care being provided by our local hospital – Bob is here as living proof.

"We have got an excellent hospital in our area."

Dr Peter Scott, clinical lead for cardiology at the Royal Bolton Hospital, said Mr Atkinson’s recovery had been unexpected and had happened without any specific medical intervention.

He said: “Mr Atkinson was not expected to survive and he was transferred back to Bolton for us to make him comfortable nearer to his family. As very occasionally happens, in fact he improved and has made a very good recovery. We were all delighted when he was able to go home in time for Christmas.”

Dr Ajmal Eusuf, consultant in intensive care, said this sort of occurrence was very rare.

He said: “When Mr Atkinson came back to Bolton he went on to our intensive care unit, but his condition didn’t deteriorate as was expected and we were able to move him onto a ward where he gradually started to improve. He and his family have been very appreciative of the care we were able to give him which has been lovely to hear, and we are so pleased to hear of his progress.”