Heart attack taxi driver survives by driving himself to Altnagelvin Hospital
A taxi driver who drove himself to hospital while he was having a heart attack cheated death by half-an-hour, according to doctors.
Christie O'Donnell had just dropped off a fare when he felt pains in his chest.
He drove to the emergency department at Altnagelvin Hospital, where tests showed he was in the throes of a heart attack.
Staff moved fast and Mr O'Donnell was in a bed in the coronary unit of the hospital less than an hour later.
Recovering at his home in the Waterside, Mr O'Donnell said he felt like the luckiest man in the world to have been given a second chance at life.
He explained: "I started to feel unwell shortly after I dropped a fare off in Creggan and I knew that something was badly wrong so I decided to go to my health centre in the Waterside, but by the time I reached there the pain was so bad I just kept driving until I reached the hospital.
"As soon as I told the girl there I was having pains in my chest, they hooked me up to a heart monitor and told me I was having a heart attack right there and then.
"I didn't have pains in my heart or down my arm like you hear about, all my pain was down the middle of my chest, but I really didn't have time to think (as) they were moving so fast.
"They put the big paddles on me in case they had to jump my heart and told me they were going to take me to theatre right away.
"I was scared and I was wondering if I was going to make it out the other side, and of course I was thinking about my family, but they kept talking to me on the way to the theatre and explained that they were going to put a stent into my heart and that they would be going in through my wrist.
"They put me on the table and the big camera was overhead.
"I was lying there while there was a bit of bustle and the next thing they said: 'There you go, that's you', and they were done, stent in and all. I couldn't believe it.
"One hour after I went into casualty I was in my bed in the coronary unit. The staff were just amazing and I am so thankful to every one of them.
"They told my wife that had another half-an-hour passed, I would not have made it. I am one lucky boy.
"From now on there will be no more smokes, and I am going to lose some weight, too."