Saturday 17 August 2019

'They saved my life' - Dublin Airport passenger thanks brave staff after he suffered cardiac arrest

Gabija Gataveckaite

A Dublin Airport passenger has praised the staff who saved his life when he suffered a cardiac arrest in the airport last April.

Speaking to, David McMillan described how terrifying the experience was for him when he collapsed in the airport earlier in the year.

He was on his way to Uganda when he began feeling unwell and collapsed in the airport.

Dublin Airport staff acted quickly and used a defibrillator to revive Mr McMillan, who was then brought to the Mater Hospital.

“I hadn’t felt 100pc for three or four weeks,” explained Mr McMillan, who is a Free Presbyterian Church Minister in Armagh.

“Everything went very fuzzy and down I went,” he said.

“I had two cases and a backpack and as I came into the airport, I just didn’t feel very well and I think holding the cases had a lot of exertion on my heart.”

“I just knew things weren’t right, I had the feeling in my chest for a few weeks.”

It was later found that Mr McMillan had a blockage in his left artery and had suffered a cardiac arrest.

His companion Alistair Hamilton began performing CPR and a nurse, who was passing by, stopped by and called for help.

However, Dublin airport emergency services were quick to act and enacted a defibrillator, which woke him up.

He was travelling with ministerial colleagues and members of a mission board, who were on their way to visit a school in Uganda. This was to be Mr McMillan’s third visit.

A screen was put up around him in the airport to allow for privacy and space for the paramedics to do their job.

“I woke up 20 minutes later. When the my other ministerial colleagues came and saw the screen, they saw the worst,” he said.

Mr McMillan was then taken to the Mater Hospital in Dublin and a cardiologist told him that he needed urgent surgery to prevent a second cardiac arrest, which could happen at any moment.


“He said that he didn’t want to add any pressure on me but that I could have another arrest at any moment,” he remembered.

“He then said that the operating theatre was free, which was very unusual, and that he couldn’t guarantee if it would be free in five minutes.”

“It was then I knew that the Lord had opened up the way for me to have the operation,” he added.

Mr McMillen then spent almost five hours in surgery, which was conducted by Dr Jonathan McGuiness.

He completed his journey to Uganda earlier in the week and was welcomed back to the airport by officials.

He commended the staff and paramedics at Dublin Airport.

“I can’t speak highly enough of the paramedics at Dublin Airport,” he said. 

“My wife was speaking to my surgeon and he said that she was thankful for all of his help. But he said that if the paramedics at the airport hadn’t been successful, he would have had nothing to operate on.”

He extended a special thanks to chief fire officer Gerry Keogh and paramedic Brendan Conway.

“They saved my life,” Mr McMillan said.

According to DAA, the defilbilator and CPR programme has saved 28 lives in the airport to date.

“The government should recognise the work that they have done, they’ve saved 28 lives.”

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