Glasnevin doctor saves dad’s life with CPR following cardiac arrest

by Gary Ibbotson

A young doctor from Glasnevin is urging people to learn CPR after saving her father’s life when he had a heart attack while out cycling.

Caoimhe Costigan was cycling with her dad Colm in Tipperary when she saw him slowing down and dismounting before he collapsed.

“I literally put my phone on speaker, put it on Dad’s chest and rang 999. 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,” she said.

Costigan said she “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. There was literally nothing else I could have done [apart from CPR].”

Costigan says it was 22 minutes before gardai and paramedics arrived on the scene, thankfully having a defibrillator with them.  

“It went on for quite a long time,” says Costigan.

“Finally, after the third or maybe the fourth shock from the defibrillator, I heard one of the guys shout that he had a pulse.”

After he was resuscitated, Colm – who lives in Baldoyle – was airlifted to hospital where a stent was inserted.

Colm and Caoimhe are asking people to learn CPR as it can triple the survival chances of someone experiencing cardiac arrest.

Costigan says that anybody can learn CPR, and that her medical training didn’t play a part in her role in saving her dad’s life.

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

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