“If it wasn’t for Claire Dolphin, the super woman, this could have been a very different phone call,” said Ryan Tubridy, speaking to Chloe Henney whose father George suffered a heart attack on the Luas on the way home from the Senior Hurling final. Excitement was high as Limerick man George was making his way home to Kildare when disaster struck. Chloe rang her dad to make sure he’d managed to get a Luas in the midst of match day chaos, but had the last conversation she ever expected.
“When I called, a paramedic answered and said my dad collapsed on the Luas and he’d had a heart attack… He just kind of said, your dad had a bit of an accident, he collapsed.”
In a fortuitous twist of fate, not far from George was Galway supporter and 24-year-old nurse Claire Dolphin who heard a call for help and ran from the other side of the Luas. “She gave my dad CPR and restarted his heart so the paramedic said if she wasn’t there, my dad wouldn’t be here… His heart stopped,” explained Chloe.
Ryan also had Claire on the line who explained what she saw and how she responded instinctively.
“He was slumped over in a chair and he was actually kind of starting to go a bit blue so I knew then that something wasn’t right and I checked his pulse and there wasn’t any… Me and this other lady got him onto the floor on the Luas. I started roaring to call an ambulance and they did and I started compressions on him… I didn’t think he was going to make it to be honest.”
“Talk about sliding doors,” said Ryan. “If you hadn’t chosen to get on that Luas at that time, there might have been no nurse there to save George. It’s cosmically bizarre but you were brilliant.”
Claire managed to keep George alive until the doors of the Luas were broken down and the paramedics entered with a defibrillator and whisked him away to the Mater hospital. “I never thought it would happen to my dad,” said Chloe who described the tense wait for news from the doctors.
“A doctor came out and said he was in a really, really bad way and to call all the family so I called my sisters and my dad’s brother and stuff and they came up from Kildare because we were kind of expecting the worst.”
George still had his Limerick ribbon around his neck when he went in for a full body scan to ascertain the damage. “It was scary,” said Chloe. “He had tubes in his mouth and he was kind of cold when I touched him.” Despite the doctors predicting the worst, George has made a fantastic recovery so far, Chloe says she can’t believe how well he has bounced back, but without the quick action on Claire’s part, it’s safe to say that this story would have had a very different ending.
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