LIFE SAVER: Rebecca Tallis and Amy Newberry with Elmo in New York City.
LIFE SAVER: Rebecca Tallis and Amy Newberry with Elmo in New York City.

Local doctor a New York hero

A LISMORE Base Hospital doctor who saved a man's life on a New York subway last week has become an instant celebrity, attracting the attention of top police brass and the US media.

Obstetrics and gynaecology registrar Rebecca Tallis was enjoying seeing the sights of the Big Apple with her friend Jenna Menzies when they saw a collapsed man while walking through Penn Station subway.

Ms Tallis said the man, who was surrounded by three police officers, was turning blue and foaming at the mouth.

"I went up to the police officers and said I was a doctor from the UK who worked in Australia and I was there on holiday, could I help," she said.

"I assessed him and he was actually in cardiac arrest and experiencing terminal agonal breathing, so I commenced CPR."

For the next seven to 10 minutes, Ms Tallis and some bystanders shared CPR duties while a police officer raced to get the nearest defibrillator.

When the defibrillator arrived, Ms Tallis went to work, shocking the man twice and performing CPR until paramedics arrived.

"By the time the paramedics arrived, which was probably about 10 minutes later, he said his name and he was fine again.

"After the paramedics got there they immediately took him away and didn't want any of my details, so a police officer took down my contact number."

Concerned and emotional, Ms Tallis and Ms Menzies walked back to where they were staying, wondering if the man had survived.

A surprised Ms Tallis said she received a phone call from a NYPD officer, who said some people from New York wanted to speak to me.

"He congratulated me for saving the man's life and said that CNN and the New York Times wanted to interview me, but unfortunately we were due to fly out to Canada.

"He said the man had a massive heart attack and one of his main arteries had blocked.

"He was having his last few breaths of life when I saw him, so he was very lucky."

On the way to the airport, Ms Tallis received a congratulatory phone call from a New York police chief, arranging to meet up with her, and the man she saved, when she returned to the US on January 27.



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