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'Learn CPR', doctor urges after saving sick dad's life


Dr Caoimhe Costigan saved her father Colm’s life by performing CPR after he collapsed

Dr Caoimhe Costigan saved her father Colm’s life by performing CPR after he collapsed

Dr Caoimhe Costigan saved her father Colm’s life by performing CPR after he collapsed

A young doctor who saved her father's life by performing CPR on him has urged the public to learn it.

Caoimhe Costigan, from Glasnevin, had been on a bike ride with her dad Colm in rural Tipperary when she noticed he was slowing down and had dismounted.

He collapsed shortly afterwards.

"I literally put my phone on speaker, put it on dad's chest and rang 999," she said.

"I just started doing CPR without thinking about it, really - the man on the phone was very helpful.

"I said to him that I was a doctor and that I was doing CPR. I was desperately worried about dad.

"I just kept trying to remember the stories of others who had survived a cardiac arrest with good-quality CPR.

"I didn't do any doctoring at the side of the road, it was because I knew CPR.

"There was literally nothing else I could have done."

Speaking on Restart A Heart Day, Mr Costigan, who is also a doctor, and his daughter are encouraging everyone to learn how to do CPR, which can triple a person's chances of surviving a cardiac arrest.

Although classes for the public have stopped due to Covid-19 restrictions, the Irish Heart Foundation has launched the two-week online campaign to help the public learn the life-saving steps.


The charity commissioned an online video featuring the character of Manny Quinn that emphasises the two essential steps when performing CPR on a person in cardiac arrest.

The first step is to call 999 or 112 and the second is to push hard and fast on the centre of the chest.

Ms Costigan paused her CPR only briefly to ask somebody to give directions to the emergency services.

It was 22 minutes before the gardaí arrived on the scene followed by paramedics, the fire service and an Army air ambulance.

At that stage Ms Costigan was able to step back and allow the ambulance crew to take over. Crucially, they had a defibrillator.

After the emergency services were able to resuscitate him, Mr Costigan, originally from Offaly but living in Baldoyle, was airlifted to Limerick University Hospital, where he had a stent inserted followed by months of recovery.

Brigid Sinnott, resuscitation manager at the Irish Heart Foundation, said thousands of people die every year in Ireland from cardiac arrest, with 70pc of those at home in front of a loved one.

"If someone who knows CPR can start performing compressions quickly, they can double or even triple a person's chances of survival," she said.

To find out more, go to www.irishheart.ie