LONDON (AP) _ A doctor performed heart surgery in a London pub two days after she learned the technique, saving the life of a stabbing victim as a crowd of drinkers watched.

Dr. Heather Clark and Dr. Alistair Mulcahy of the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service were called to the dimly lit Swan pub in east London on April 16, where they found 22-year-old Stephen Niland, who had been stabbed in the heart.

Niland's heart stopped and there was no choice but to carry out the operation on the pub floor, the doctors told news media Thursday.

``The week before, one of the doctors had talked me through it as part of the intensive training you receive when you join the helicopter service,'' said Clark, 35. ``Then, two days before this happened, a patient needed it and the doctor I was with performed it.''

She cut two holes in Niland's chest to ease pressure on his lungs, then cut through his breastbone and lifted his ribcage. She cut the sack surrounding the heart to release a blood clot, and the heart started beating on its own.

Mulcahy then stuck his finger in the stab wound to prevent it from bleeding. He kept it there during the trip to the Royal London Hospital, where surgeons repaired the hole an hour later. Niland returned home six days later.

The pub was far from ideal as an operating room, Clark said.

``It was difficult because you have the patient on the floor with fairly minimal light and you only have the basic equipment,'' she said. ``It is not something you take lightly.''