Surfing doctor saves man's life

THERE was no better time or place for Brazilian doctor Marcelo Silva to be on Saturday than at Snapper Rocks.

The 29-year-old surfing doctor has been credited as saving the life of a 61-year-old man who was believed to have suffered a stroke while out for a surf just before 1pm.

Dr Silva performed CPR and used a defibrillator, supplied by surf lifesavers, on the man for 20 minutes before an ambulance arrived.

"I was surfing when I saw them pull this guy out of the water. I ran over to help him," Dr Silva said.

"I used to work in an intensive care unit at a hospital in Brazil. I have seen this type of thing before.

"I performed CPR on him for 20 minutes. There was no heartbeat and he was not breathing. He swallowed a lot of sea water.

"He started to breathe just as the ambulance arrived."

The 61-year-old man was first spotted face down in the water just before 1pm at high tide, about 10 metres off shore.

Dr Silva, who resides in Kirra, said the man was lucky not to have been further out or over to the side because no-one would have seen him.

Tweed Heads surfer Justin Enright said he and other surfers immediately banded together to help the unknown man.

"I was on the beach and saw someone trying to bring the guy in on a longboard," Mr Enright said.

"It was high tide so he could not get in any further. I swam out and bought him in by the rocks."

Mr Enright also assisted Dr Silva with CPR.

"I have done CPR training. It is quite different when it is the real deal though," the 35-year-old said.

"When you are in the moment it just takes away from the chaos."

By the end of the ordeal, more than 50 people were watching the resuscitation attempt.

"It was a busy day at the beach. The first sunny day in a while so everyone was out for a surf," Mr Enright said.

Dr Silva said he would visit the man he helped saved, who is in a stable condition at The Tweed Hospital.

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