Tuesday 23 July 2019

Hero nurse who brought toddler back to life tells of delight at miracle recovery

Julie Genova saved Neil Shanahan
Julie Genova saved Neil Shanahan
Rory Tevlin

Rory Tevlin

An heroic American nurse who saved the life of a toddler after he had fallen from the rooftop of a hotel has told of her delight at the child's incredible recovery.

Neil Shanahan (2) survived a fall from the sixth floor of the Strand Hotel in Limerick on July 2 and is now back at home with his family after five weeks in Temple Street Children's Hospital.

Julie Genova, who hails from Concord near Boston, Massachussets, was on the scene seconds after the toddler fell to the terrace. She administered CPR on Neil for around five minutes, helping bring him back to life.

Speaking from the US, Julie said: "It was a horrible situation. This little baby was lying there, not breathing.

"I gave him CPR for about four to five minutes and he started to cough and come back to us. He was looking at his mum, he was moving his extremities and moving on his own."

Neil was then rushed by ambulance to University Hospital Limerick, before being transferred to Temple Street.

Neil Shanahan. Photo: Press 22
Neil Shanahan. Photo: Press 22

Julie, who works as a nurse in a private boys' school, was on a surprise trip to Ireland organised by her husband David, while her three children Justin (16) Jonathan (15) and Jacqueline (11) were at summer camp.

She recalled the horrifying moment that she found Neil unconscious.

"He was just laying on his back on the terrace. He was not breathing and it was difficult to ascertain a pulse. Martina [Neil's mother] did not know what had happened to him; she found him like that. We did not know at the time that he had fallen from the top of the building."

It was then that Julie's instincts kicked in and she administered CPR, which she teaches to students in the USA. "You just do what you are trained to do in the moment," she said.

Although she is now back in Massachusetts, Julie wants to return to Limerick as soon as possible to see Neil, Martin and the Shanahan family.

"I cannot wait to see them again and give that little one a really big hug."

The miracle toddler - who bears no physical scars from his dramatic fall - will have a special treat to look forward to this Christmas.

He has been invited by Mayor Kieran O'Hanlon to switch on Limerick's festive lights.

Irish Independent

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