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How John Orchard saved Phillip Hughes's life: NSW doctor's quick thinking at the time of crisis

Modified 26 Nov 2014
Phil Hughes’ horrific injury received immediate attention from doctor John Orchard

With the injured Australian batsman Phil Hughes still fighting for survival in St Vincent's Hospital, the role that John Orchard, the New South Wales team doctor, has played over the last 24 hours should not be forgotten. It was Orchard who gave the cricketer a chance to recover by giving him mouth-to-mouth respiration, first on the ground and then on the medicab. 

Hughes, a former New South Wales player, was swiftly taken care of by Orchard, who is rightly being lauded for his actions. The doctor also performed CPR as the players and officials raised a white screen on the boundary. Hughes was also intubated on the ground by Orchard.

Hughes’ life could have been in much more danger had Orchard not taken quick action before the ambulances and the medivac helicopter arrived at the ground. The doctor travelled with Hughes as the ambulance left for St.Vincent’s, stayed there till late night and was back with him on Wednesday morning. 

Orchard has been with New South Wales for the past six years and has also served as the doctor of the Australian team earlier. He had seen Hughes, who arrived in Sydney as a teenager, as a budding cricketer.

"If all sports are having to tighten up how they manage concussion, cricket should be the same," Orchard once said, while also pushing for a relaxation of substitution laws. "It's a little bit of a hollow victory if you're not taking the 20 wickets or anywhere near it because you've simply injured your opponents," added the man who outlawed the shoulder charge in the National Rugby League (NRL).

While Sean Abbott, the man who delivered the bouncer that hurt the batsman, cradled Hughes’ head soon after, Shane Watson and Brad Haddin placed him in a brace position. David Warner, meanwhile, who has opened the batting with Hughes on plenty of occasions in the past, called for the ambulance. However, Orchard shouldn’t be forgotten for saving the 25-year-old’s young and precious life.

Published 26 Nov 2014, 18:05 IST
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