Thursday, January 05, 2017

A QUICK-THINKING Cork woman has been commended for rushing to the aid of an elderly man who collapsed on the street in front of her workplace on Christmas Eve.

Ciara O’Callaghan, who works at Hallmark on Winthrop Street, sprang into action when a bystander ran into the shop shouting for someone who could perform CPR. The 21-year-old, who has been volunteering with St John Ambulance for the last three years, immediately went to help.

Ciara O’Callaghan, a St John Ambulance volunteer who used the defibrillator at the back of Penney’s on Oliver Plunkett street to resuscitate a man recently. Picture: Eddie O’Hare

Ciara quickly realised the man’s heart had stopped beating and called for someone to get the defibrillator located ay Penney’s on Oliver Plunkett Street. Thankfully, that very same defibrillator, worth €2,500, which had been vandalised twice in previous weeks, had been replaced.

Ciara said: “I went to the man, an elderly gentleman. There were a few people around him alright, and I started CPR and then more people arrived on the scene.

“Someone brought the defibrillator and I used it and gave the man two shocks. I gave him the best possible chance and then the ambulance came and they took over,” added Ciara.

“I went back to work and everyone was amazed, and a little in shock over what had just happened.”

The man was successfully resuscitated and was transferred to hospital for further treatment. But, said Ciara, things might have gone differently had she not known CPR or if the defibrillator had been out of action due to vandalism.

The Blarney woman said she would encourage everyone to learn CPR, and asked people to think twice before vandalising on-street equipment which could potentially save someone’s life.

Sean O’Reilly, from the Cork branch of St John Ambulance, echoed these sentiments.

“This is life-saving equipment and anyone who destroys it is being very short-sighted. It’s an awful thing to do and it really does put people in danger. If this particular defibrillator had not been operational then a man could have lost his life,” he said.

“Ciara was in the right place at the right time with the right equipment, and with the knowledge of CPR. I really would encourage everyone to learn CPR. When something like this happens, when someone collapses, you don’t have time to go looking for someone who knows what to do, you have to step in yourself and do something.”

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