Belfast Telegraph

Defibrillator used on elderly worshipper after collapse during service at church

Glenabbey Church in Newtownabbey
Glenabbey Church in Newtownabbey

By Staff Reporter

An elderly man was being treated in hospital yesterday after taking ill at a church service in Co Antrim.

It is understood that the man collapsed at the Sunday morning service at Glenabbey Church in Newtownabbey.

Shocked worshippers rushed to the man's aid and used a defibrillator on him while they awaited the arrival of the emergency services.

The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service said it received a 999 call at 11.24am on Sunday following reports that a male patient had collapsed at a premises in the Ballycraigy Road area of the town.

"Two emergency ambulance crews were dispatched to the incident," an NIAS spokesperson said.

"Following assessment and initial treatment at the scene, the patient was then taken to Antrim Area Hospital."

The Northern Health Trust declined to comment on the man's condition when contacted last night.

The man is believed to be a regular worshipper at the church.

One member of the congregation said it had been a "frightening" experience for all concerned.

"The poor man was sitting quite near the front of the church when he became quite unwell towards the end of the service," they told the Belfast Telegraph.

"He let out a big groan and appeared to collapse.

"There were a few hundred people there, including a lot of children who were crying.

"There was a bit of commotion and a lot of confusion as people rushed to help him.

"Luckily there were a number of doctors in the congregation who were able to come to his aid.

"You could hear the defibrillator being used on him and then two ambulances arrived at the scene and worked on him in the church.

"The preacher finished the service as soon as it happened for people to leave the main hall.

"People were also asked to pray for the man that he would recover. It was a frightening experience for everyone who was there and the man and his family are very much in everyone's thoughts," they added.

Glenabbey Church could not be contacted for a response yesterday.

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