Saturday 25 February 2017

'I rushed to save a man's life and then saw it was my uncle who was dying'

Nicola Donnelly

Darragh Lawlor
Darragh Lawlor

Darragh Lawlor was busy saving a man's life when he suddenly realised that the person he was helping was his uncle.

Now the 26-year-old is on the verge of seeing his dream of having defibrillators installed in Swords come true.

Two years ago, he started campaigning to make two of the devices available after he saved his uncle's life using a defibrillator and CPR.

One of the defibrillators is now in Swords Garda Station while the second one, currently in its temporary location at The Old School House restaurant, will be placed on the railings outside Fingal County Council offices.

Security

"The Council has provided the cabinet the defibrillator will go into and we have that cabinet now in place on the railings,' said Darragh.

"The next stage will be to place the defibrillator in the cabinet, which we hope will happen within the next few weeks."

Darragh, who volunteers with St John's Ambulance, was working as a security guard at The Pavilions Shopping Centre two years ago when his uncle collapsed in a nearby bookmakers.

He reacted immediately after a call came in for a defibrillator to be brought to the bookmakers where a man was having a heart attack.

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In a strange twist of fate, Darragh saved his uncle Paddy's life, but only realised he was related to the man halfway through the rescue.

"I hadn't even realised it was my uncle I was giving CPR to until a few minutes into it, when I looked at his face,' said Darragh, from Foxwood in Swords.

"I believe it was fate. I had only recently qualified in first aid and was only practising CPR the week before," he said.

After saving his uncle's life, Darragh set up a fundraising campaign to have defibrillators available on Swords Main Street to help prevent a fatality.

"Ever since that day of saving my uncle's life, I have wanted to do something to help get defibrillators for the Main Street that can be accessed 24/7, so that if someone else is in a situation where somebody is having a heart attack, they can help save their life," he said.

Access to the new defibrillator will be available via a code which every shop and business on Main Street will have, as well as being available from the emergency line 999 and the National Ambulance Service.

Vandalised

"We need to put a code on it, otherwise the defibrillator could be vandalised. If that happened there is no way a life could be saved," said Darragh.

"I am delighted to see this defibrillator going in place here on the Main Street.

"I want to thank Cllr Philip Lynam and Paul Reid, CEO of Fingal County Council for facilitating this and making it happen," he added.

Local business Mid-Knight Electrical is funding the on-going maintenance required to keep the defibrillators working.

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