4th May 2021
According to Cork native AnneMarie McAuliffe, her fifteen year old son Conor is a “walking miracle.” Conor attends St Paul’s School, part of the Cope Foundation, in Cork City. On March 16th, during a St Patricks Day Parade in the school yard, he suffered a major cardiac arrest. Unresponsive and having stopped breathing, the staff acted swiftly. School Principal, Anne Hartnett explained that “the staff were wonderful, they were doing the compressions, and we got the oxygen masks and the defibrillator,” and they began their intervention immediately.
Minutes later came the HSE response with the National Ambulance Service bringing a team of paramedics and medical personnel. One of the first to arrive at the scene was Community Engagement Manager Ger O’Dea who explained that the staff at St Paul’s had done the right thing, reacted immediately and cited their intervention as life saving: “All too often what we find when we arrive at these scenes, is that if somebody isn’t doing CPR when we get there the chance of survival falls between seven and ten per cent for every minute that goes by. I can’t stress enough the importance of bystander CPR when something like this happens.”
Conor was subsequently rushed to Cork University Hospital and later transferred to Our Lady’s Children Hospital in Crumlin.
Recalling that day Conor’s mother reflected that “on that day in the car park I had to step out of the ambulance – at one stage I just couldn’t watch anymore. And I just said, that’s it, my beautiful boy is gone. He had a few cardiac arrests one after the other. I think the longest spell he had was eight minutes without a pulse.”
Ger further paid tribute to the staff in St Paul’s and also acknowledged the swift response of the HSE National Ambulance Service, coupled with the medical teams in both Cork University Hospital and Crumlin Children’s Hospital.
Conor was discharged from hospital on Easter Monday and has since made a happy return to school to re join his friends.
VirginMedia’s Paul Byrne met with Conor and his mum and heard directly from them about Conor’s experience and recovery: