Wednesday 12 December 2018

'Heroic' garda saves the life of newborn baby girl: 'I did what I did without thinking about it'

Garda Patrick McCormack has been hailed a hero
Photo: Eamon Ward
Garda Patrick McCormack has been hailed a hero Photo: Eamon Ward

Gordon Deegan

A 'hero' probationary garda has said that he was never as happy to hear a baby cry as he was after reviving a nine-day-old girl last week.

Quick-thinking Garda Patrick McCormack (25) saved the life of the infant after she stopped breathing in the public area of Ennis Garda Station in Co Clare last week.

Gda Patrick McCormack is only out of Templemore Garda Training College four months but was yesterday labelled “a hero” by his boss.

Chief Supt John Kerin told members of the Clare Joint Policing Committee (JPC) yesterday that Garda McCormack’s actions saved the tot.

Gda McCormack, who is from Ballinasloe in Co Galway, was on duty at the public office of the Garda station last Wednesday evening, where members of the public usually come looking to have forms signed.

At 6.30pm two distraught young parents arrived with the newborn, who had stopped breathing and had turned blue.

Recalling the incident, Gda McCormack said “it all happened so fast and adrenalin took over. I did what I did without thinking about it”.

Gda McCormack said that after the mother told him that the baby had stopped breathing, he went out to them and started to apply CPR.

He said: “I started with a couple of chest compressions and then started backslapping the baby to help clear its airways.

“After a couple of minutes, the baby started to cry and I was never as happy to hear a baby cry in my life as I was then.”

A member of the local traffic corps and a trained paramedic, Garda Ken Butler was also on hand to assist.

The baby was taken by ambulance to hospital, where she spent a night under observation.

Gda McCormack said: “The mother phoned me the next day to thank me and to say that the baby was doing fine. I was glad that I was able to help and assist.”

He added: “I didn’t expect to be saving a life last week but every day is different. I am loving the job so far.”

Paying tribute to Garda McCormack yesterday, Chief Supt Kerin said that he did “extraordinary work”.

He said: “I am really proud of the work and the professionalism of both Gardai but particularly young what Garda McCormack showed on the night”.

Chief Supt Kerin said that he sent a note to the director of Training at Templemore Garda College commending their teaching.

He said: “I admire the fact that Garda McCormack didn’t stand back and start ringing everyone to see what could be done - he got stuck in and worked straight away on it.”

He remarked: “A young garda to have confidence and ability to do what he did was great.”

Independent Clare councillor Ann Norton saw the shocking incident as she was in the station to get a passport form signed.

Cllr Norton said that Garda McCormack was applying CPR while re-assuring the child's mother because she was questioning ‘have I done something wrong? Is this my fault?’.

Cllr Norton said: “The way the Garda spoke to her and the way he worked on the baby at the same time was actually amazing. I was so impressed.”

Cllr Norton said that that the family was “very lucky that the Gardai were so on the ball and so confident in what they were doing”.

She said: “I would like to compliment the two Gardai - they were superb.”

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