KT

A matter of life or death

Mary O'Connor, Beaufort, illustrates how to perform CPR on colleague Damian Baker as Dr John Geaney and Dr Fiona Gallagher offer advice in Killarney. Picture: Don MacMonagle
Mary O’Connor, Beaufort, illustrates how to perform CPR on colleague Damian Baker as Dr John Geaney and Dr Fiona Gallagher offer advice in Killarney.
Picture: Don MacMonagle

A KILLARNEY husband and wife, who are both medical doctors, are spearheading a major pilot scheme aimed at saving the lives of hundreds of heart attack victims.

Dr John Geaney and Dr Fiona Gallagher are to the fore of Operation Resuscitation – a rapid response initiative aimed at ensuring at least two people in every household are trained and equipped with the skills to help victims to survive.

Their teenage son, Tom Geaney, made a full recovery after suffering a cardiac arrest at a Killarney Celtic soccer match a year ago.

The now 17-year-old, who had no history of a heart condition, would have died were it not for the fact action of his coach, Eugene Cosgrove, and others who reacted immediately to administer CPR and use a defibrillator.

Operation Resuscitation Killarney is now offering specialist life-saving CPR and AED training to schools, sports clubs, community organisations and individuals.

“It is the first step in a process of making Killarney the safest heart town in Ireland and Ireland the safest heart country in the world,” said Dr John Geaney.

“Currently, Ireland’s survival rates are six per cent and other regions have a 26 per cent survival rate. We can save 400 additional lives in Ireland every year – that would be at least three lives in Killarney – if we work to raise our survival rate to be on a par with the world’s best,” he added.

The pilot project is being rolled out in Killarney and Kilkenny with the aim of having 25 per cent of the population in both areas trained to administer CPR by the year end. The national plan is to train 50 per cent of the population to act in the event of a cardiac arrest over the next 10 years.

The Operation Resuscitation team has stressed that it takes as little as one hour to learn the basics of CPR and as over 70 per cent of cardiac arrests happen in the home, having someone nearby trained to administer CPR could be a matter of life or death.