Tuesday 12 December 2017

A quick-thinking 'Christmas elf' helped to save a man's life when his heart stopped on Christmas Eve

Ciara O'Callaghan St John's Volunteer
Ciara O'Callaghan St John's Volunteer
Thre youths destroyed a defibrillator in Arklow Photo via Facebook/ Arklow Community First Responders
Padraig Clifford and David O'Shea of Beaufort Drama group (seated) presenting cheques for €1,000 to Agnes Rooney of the Buy A Bus Fund for KPFA and Susan English of Beaufort Defibrillator Group, with (front) Bernie Costello, Colette Courtney, Anges Rooney, Padraig Clifford, Susan English, David O'Shea, Rosemary Mangan (back from left) Fiona Landers, Marie Coffey, Austin Rooney, Rory Clifford, Lorraine O'Shea, Neilie O'Sullivan, Caitriona Kelly and Noel O'Sullivan at Beaufort bar Restaurant, Beaufort, Killarney on Saturday. The funds were raised from their recent production.Photo by Michelle Cooper Galvin
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

A quick-thinking 'Christmas elf' has been hailed for saving the life on an elderly man on Christmas Eve after his heart stopped.

St John's Ambulance volunteer Ciara O'Callaghan (20) was working as in a card shop in Cork city centre, dressed festively as an elf, when she was called to assist the man who had taken ill nearby at around 2pm on Christmas Eve.

She realised that his heart had stopped immediately started CPR. Ciara was also able to use a defibrillator which was located nearby.

She continued CPR and gave the patient two shocks before the arrival of the paramedic crew.

The man is now recovering well in hospital.

"Someone came in shouting to see if anyone knew CPR and I just ran out," she told Independent.ie.

Ciara, who has been a volunteer with St John's since she was 17, said her training kicked in instantly.

It was her first time performing CPR on a patient.

"We've practised it so many times in training that it just kicked in," she said.

The UCC student said the episode brought home for her the importance of CPR training and having a publicly accessible defibrillator.

"It definitely gave him the best chance," she said.

"It's a skill everyone should have because you never know when you'll need it. You just don't know what could happen and you could be the only person with the patient," she said.

The defibrillator used in the rescue had recently been vandalised and the ambulance service has said "it's timely replacement assisted in saving the life" of the man in question St John's Ambulance said in a statement.

It comes after three youths in Arklow vandalised a defibrillator worth around €2,000 in the early hours, ripping it off the wall and smashing the life-saving device beyond repair.

Read more: Gardaí launch investigation after three vandals destroy life-saving defibrillator

The community in Arlkow has rallied and been donating money to replace the device, which is maintained by the Arklow First Responders volunteer group.

A garda investigation was launched following the incident which was captured on CCTV.

Online Editors

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News