Tuesday 25 April 2017

'That 'see you later' was the last time I saw my dad alive' – Dublin dad’s life could have been saved if village had a defibrillator

Larry pictured with his daughters and nephew Adam (left), centre Larry with daughter Jennifer and Emma as t Bruce Springsteen concert (centre), Larry at a family wedding (right)
Larry pictured with his daughters and nephew Adam (left), centre Larry with daughter Jennifer and Emma as t Bruce Springsteen concert (centre), Larry at a family wedding (right)
Patricia Murphy

Patricia Murphy

The family of a Dublin dad who collapsed and died after a cardiac arrest has said his life could have been saved if their village had immediate access to a defibrillator.

Larry Costello (59), from Glasthule, collapsed in his kitchen in October and although he was later revived, he suffered a serious brain injury due to a lack of oxygen.

Larry pictured with his daughters Jennifer and Emma at a Bruce Springsteen concert
Larry pictured with his daughters Jennifer and Emma at a Bruce Springsteen concert

The dad-of-four’s daughter Jennifer (32) believes that he might still be alive if there was a defibrillator in Glasthule, as the nearest machine is located more than a 15-minute drive away in Dun Laoghaire.

"He was just in the kitchen one evening when he collapsed – he had a cardiac arrest. My mam and auntie took it in turns to give him CPR and when they called the emergency services, they asked them did we have access to a defibrillator.

"The nearest one to us in Glasthule at the time would have been in St Michael’s Hospital which is a fifteen minute drive away. We’d never have got there on time.

"When the ambulance arrived, they managed to revive dad but because he had been deprived of oxygen he suffered a brain injury. There was no coming back from it, he was gone.

Larry (forward left) suffered a cardiac arrest at home and later died
Larry (forward left) suffered a cardiac arrest at home and later died

"You never think that morning’s ‘See you later’ will be the last one, you never think that that will be the last time you see your dad, but it was."

The granddad-of-two worked as a Parks Manager for Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council for more than 30 years and Jennifer said his death has left a “huge hole” in the lives of his wife Audrey and four children, Jennifer, Emma (26), Graham (36) and Ian (29).

Speaking of her dad, Jennifer said: “He was a dedicated family man who just loved his little grandchildren Adam (7) and Sian (4).

"His funeral was one of the biggest funerals that was ever in Glasthule, you couldn’t even get into the church with the amount of people that turned up.

The Costello family swim in Sandycove every year
The Costello family swim in Sandycove every year

"He was one of my best friends, just a really good man, he was my dad and a hole has been left in all of our lives since he’s left.

"Every story he told – we’d be all hanging on his every word and it’s hard to accept that’s gone now."

The Costello family are now raising funds to purchase a defibrillator for their community, which Jennifer said she hopes will prevent other families from the same fate.

"On the May Bank Holiday we’re going to hold a few days of community events to hopefully raise €1.2k to buy a defibrillator.

Larry suffered a cardiac arrest at home and later died
Larry suffered a cardiac arrest at home and later died

"Our dad used to manage our local football team here, and some of the players he used to mentor are going to have a few matches in his honour. We’re also holding a swim in and a 5km walk.

"Every town should have a defibrillator, every housing estate, every sports club, every where people are. They save lives.

"My dad would be really proud if this machine could save one life, that would mean so much to us as well. To know that somebody’s life was saved and that person’s family will not have to go through what we have," she said.

The fact that Larry carried an organ donor card was a small comfort to the Costello family in their time of grief, as the former County Council worker helped to save two lives.

"Two men in their 60s got to go home to their families because of him, and I guess in a way a part of him is alive," she said.

To support the Glasthule fund raiser please visit www.gofundme.com

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