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Doctor in audience saves dancer

May 2, 2012 at 4:12 PM

NEW YORK, May 2 (UPI) -- A New York doctor rushed to the stage and saved the life of a 22-year-old dancer whose heart abruptly stopped in mid-performance.

Andrew Wollowitz, a director of emergency medicine at Montefiore Medical Center, said he heard someone call for the show to be stopped and a 911 call to be made when the male dancer, a former student of Wollowitz's wife, collapsed on stage during an April 19 show at the Baryshnikov Arts Center, the New York Daily News reported Wednesday.

Wollowitz said he rushed to the stage and soon discovered the man had no pulse.

"He wasn't alive, so I started compressions -- 80 to 100 a minute," Wollowitz said.

He said the dancer briefly started breathing on his own, but he had to start CPR again when his condition again worsened.

Firefighters soon arrived and used a defibrillator to shock the dancer's heart.

Wollowitz said the man would have risked brain damage after a few more minutes without oxygen.

The man was taken to Bellevue Hospital and Wollowitz rode along in the ambulance to advocate for his patient.

The dancer, who asked not to be named, said he was thankful Wollowitz was in the audience that night.

"I feel very grateful he was in the audience," he said. "I don't know where I'd be if he wasn't there."

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