THEY say a cat has nine lives, but Stephen Moore is arguably on his 10th.
The taxi driver survived an incredible nine heart attacks in a short period of time last month, and is already back at home and thanking the ambulance crew that got him through the first two cardiac arrests.
"Without their training and care I would not be alive today; without their knowledge I would not be alive today," the 61-year-old said yesterday.
On May 9, Mr Moore began to feel nauseous but thought the indigestion-type pains in his chest were the remnants of a heavy cold.
However, he had never been seriously ill before and he woke his wife Geraldine at 2am and told her to call an ambulance to their home in Dundalk, Co Louth.
Paramedics Tony Murphy and Dominic McEvoy were on duty and got him into the ambulance to take him to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda.
They had been on the road for three minutes when Stephen had his first cardiac arrest. Geraldine was in the ambulance with him.
"They got him back, and again further up the road on the motorway he had another one," she said.
The crew called for another ambulance to assist them and Mr Moore had the two paramedics working on him while another paramedic drove them the rest of the journey.
While in the emergency department at Lourdes Hospital, he had seven more cardiac arrests.
Medical staff knew he needed immediate surgery for what they believed to be a blocked artery and when the doctors stabilised him in Drogheda, the same two paramedics brought him on to the Mater Hospital in Dublin.
At that stage, he was given a 30pc chance of survival.
But he is now fit and well, and back home, and the work of the paramedics has been praised by the cardiac team in the Mater.
"They said that due to the good work of the paramedics there was no serious damage to Stephen," said Geraldine.
He fell ill on May 9 and was back home on May 20.
"I used to do the Lotto twice a week, I haven't even thought about it once since," Mr Moore said yesterday.