Heart doctor congregant is a life-saver in shul

Liverpool's leading heart specialist was a life-saver when a Childwall congregant's heart stopped beating during the Shabbat service.

Shul member Dr Stephen Saltissi - Royal Liverpool University Hospital's clinical cardiology director - was sitting two rows away when Childwall choirmaster David Coleman, 63, collapsed.

Dr Saltissi immediately checked for a pulse but did not find one. Mr Coleman had also stopped breathing.

"With assistance from a couple of other congregants, I got him on to the floor between the pews," Dr Saltissi said. "I opted to do something which is not used a lot these days in resuscitation methods but is called a thump version. You thump the front of the chest and I thought in the circumstance it was an appropriate thing to do. Within a few seconds his pulse returned. He then immediately began to start breathing again."

‘Scary? It was horrendous — he had a cardiac arrest’

Mr Coleman's wife Shirley looked on worriedly as events unfolded. "Scary? It was horrendous," she said. "He had a cardiac arrest. Dr Saltissi brought him back. It was a miracle he was there. David is okay, thank God, but he won't be leading the choir for a couple of weeks."

Dr Saltissi was also able to interpret ECG readings taken by paramedics in the synagogue. An ambulance was called to the scene. Mr Coleman was taken to hospital but was released on Tuesday night.

"I seem to be blessed with seeing these quite a lot," the doctor added. "The weekend before last, on my return flight from Malaga, the same thing happened and I had to resuscitate someone."

Last updated: 11:16am, June 24 2011