MEET THE LIFE SAVERS; on Day Three of Our Exclusive Look at Heart Surgery at Coventry's University Hospital, Health Reporter WARREN MANGER Meets the Cosmopolitan Team Who Performed Open Heart Surgery on Retired Teacher Mike Hall. Pictures by JOE BAILEY

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Byline: WARREN MANGER

ALTHOUGH the heart surgeon takes many of the plaudits for a successful operation it takes a whole team of skilled professionals to perform this kind of procedure.

University Hospital's world leading heart surgeon Ramesh Patel likens surgery to an orchestra performing Tchaikovsky's 1812 overture.

He says: "You have got a conductor at the front. The surgeon is that person with the baton in his hands, ensuring everything flows in the right place. He knows the music and is skilled and experienced enough to change at the drop of a hat if needs be.

"But everybody else is doing their little bit and at the end a beautiful piece of music comes out."

By the time retired teacher Mike Hall recovers from his open heart surgery he will have been cared for and treated by more than 40 doctors, nurses and physiotherapists.

Every one of them plays a vital part in ensuring the patient not only survives but enjoys the best possible quality of life after surgery.

Mr Patel warns: "When the team spirit breaks down that's when you get disasters.

"And when you get disasters the only person who loses out is the patient. Everybody else will be here tomorrow to start a new case."

So let's meet the world leading team that performed open heart surgery to fix Mike's irregular heartbeat and leaky heart valve.

THE HEART PATIENT Name: Mike Hall Job: Retired teacher Nationality: English Role in surgery: The 70 year-old from Tile Hill originally went to University Hospital with persistent knee problems. But doctors spotted the father of three also had an irregular heartbeat and needed open heart surgery to repair a leaky heart valve.

Mike is now recovering at home after a successful operation.

Name: Ramesh Patel Title: Consultant cardiothoracic surgeon Nationality: Kenyan Role in surgery: Mr Patel was the man at the helm of Mike's operation. The surgeon cut through Mike's chest, opened his rib cage and stopped his heart. He froze some of the heart cells to stop the erratic electric impulses which were causing Mike's irregular heartbeat, removed the faulty part of Mike's leaky heart valve and created a replacement.

Name: Donna Eaton Title: Surgical registrar Nationality: English Role in surgery: Donna assisted Mr Patel throughout the operation. After he had finished fixing the irregular heart beat and repairing the leaky heart valve he left Donna to clean up and close up.

She stitched Mike's rib cage back together with wire before sewing up his chest.

Name: Eve King Title: Scrub practitioner Nationality: English Role in surgery: Eve was responsible for counting out every item of equipment before the surgery and ticking it off again afterwards to make sure nothing was left inside the patient. She remained at Mr Patel's elbow throughout the operation, pre-empting what equipment he would need to make sure he always had the necessary tools to hand. …