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Family praise emergency services for saving teenager’s life

 Large group of emergency services staff and family members standing outside at the front of a semidetached house.



The importance of having members of the public trained in CPR and in the use of an AED (automated external defibrillator)has been highlighted following the recent rescue of a 13-year-old Limerick boy who suffered a cardiac arrest while playing football.

Ewan John Sabu, from Newcastle West, was playing football with his local team Newcastle West Football Club, when he collapsed. His coaches immediately contacted the emergency services and started CPR, while a substantial multi-agency response was launched.

Ger O’Dea, Community Engagement Manager with the HSE National Ambulance Service, said the incident highlighted the importance of having members of the public trained in CPR and in the use of an AED.

Volunteers from the CRITICAL West Limerick CFR (Community First Responders) group were joined by NAS personnel, gardaí, the Limerick City and County Fire and Rescue Service, Templeglantine CFR group and an off-duty Red Cross EMT (Emergency Medical Technician). A paediatric team returning to University Hospital Kerry from Crumlin Children’s Hospital also responded.

The emergency teams were able to restart Ewan’s heart and he was brought to University Hospital Limerick (UHL) where he was stabilised before being transferred to Crumlin Children’s Hospital in Dublin.

The family recently held a small event near their home in Newcastle West to show their appreciation to all those who helped Ewan. They thanked the coaches and emergency services who worked together to save his life.

His mother Sandhya Parameswaran, a nurse at Dromcollogher and District Respite Care Centre, explained that when she arrived at the pitch she could “barely see Ewan. There were so many ambulances, garda cars and fire engines. They reassured me that he was sedated, he was stable and that they were bringing him to Limerick. The gardaí took me straight there and friends brought my husband Sabu John who was leaving work in Adare. The care Ewan received at the scene and in both UHL and Crumlin was incredible. He was looked after so well by his coaches Niall and Mícheál; by the parents who were there and by all the emergency services and medical teams. They are all heroes. It is thanks to them that Ewan is now back at Scoil Mhuire agus Íde where he is a first-year student.”

'Pay tribute'

Ger O’Dea added that he was “delighted to hear of the very successful outcome from this incident. I would also like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the members of the emergency services and the volunteer Community First Responders who attended the scene. Community First Responders are integral to community resilience. NAS is committed to working within these communities to provide the quickest possible response to patient emergencies in order to achieve outcomes like this.”

David Tighe, CEO of CRITICAL, the  charity which supports the West Limerick CFR Group, added that this was a “wonderful example of what is happening across the country every day of the year with our emergency services and volunteer responders working together to save lives. It takes an incredible team effort to restart a heart when someone suffers a cardiac arrest. The quick action of Ewan’s coaches and the collaboration between CRITICAL’s volunteer responders, the paramedics, HSE doctors and nurses, the fire service and gardaí has resulted in this young man walking out of hospital just a few weeks later.”

Find information about becoming a Community First Responder volunteer