GREAT North Dog Walk boss Tony Carlisle is facing further surgery after a vital operation had to be halted when his heart stopped for 20 seconds.
The grandfather and father-of-four had been in theatre at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital for more than five hours when the dramatic setback forced doctors to abandon the surgery.
Mr Carlisle was undergoing an operation to remove an artery blockage, with further heart bypass surgery also a possibility.
The operation was required after Mr Carlisle suffered a heart attack in November, and doctors discovered he had been living with a blocked artery. But after his heart stopped while on the operating table, the surgery was abandoned.
The former PE teacher at Harton Technology College, South Shields, is now back at home recovering, with the surgery set to be rescheduled to take place in the next few weeks.
Mr Carlisle said: “It is a real nightmare. I am now back at home recovering. I am very sore, and black and blue from the surgery.
“I have been told the surgery will take place in the next few weeks. I just have to wait for the wounds to heal.
“It could happen at the same time as the Great North Dog Walk.”
Mr Carlisle said it was a “frightening” experience to be told that his heart had stopped on the operating theatre.
Mr Carlisle was awake during the operation but thought he had blacked out for a period when his heart had stopped.
He added: “I thought I had blacked out at the time.
“But the surgeon came to my bedside to explain that my heart had stopped for 20 seconds, and had to be re-stimulated.
“It’s frightening. They had to abandon the operation.”
Mr Carlisle says he is working hard to organise this year’s Great North Dog Walk while recuperating at home.
He is grateful for the support of well-wishers from across the borough.
“I have been overwhelmed by the support I have had. The good wishes have been a boost, and will continue to be.”
Mr Carlisle is still preparing for the Great North Dog Walk on Sunday, June 8.
For more information on the walk, visit www.greatnorthdogwalk.co.uk