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Nurse Julie Genova who saved tot after Limerick rooftop fall delighted at miracle recovery

By Rory Tevlin

Published 19/08/2016

Julie Genova saved Neil Shanahan after a rooftop fall
Julie Genova saved Neil Shanahan after a rooftop fall
Neil Shanahan

A heroic American nurse who saved the life of a toddler after he fell from the rooftop of a hotel has told of her delight at the child's incredible recovery.

Neil Shanahan (2) survived a fall from the sixth floor of the Strand Hotel in Limerick on July 2, and is back at home with his family after five weeks in Temple Street Children's Hospital.

Julie Genova, who hails from Concord near Boston, Massachusetts, was on the scene seconds after the toddler fell on to the terrace.

She administered CPR on Neil for around five minutes, helping bring him back to life.

Speaking from the USA, Julie said: "It was a horrible situation.

"This little baby was lying there, not breathing. I gave him CPR for about four to five minutes, and he started to cough and come back to us.

"He was looking at his mom, he was moving his extremities, and moving on his own."

Neil was then rushed by ambulance to University Hospital Limerick, before being transferred to Temple Street.

Julie, who works as a nurse in a private boys' school, was on a surprise trip to Ireland organised by her husband David while her three children Justin (16) Jonathan (15) and Jacqueline (11) were at summer camp.

She recalled the horrifying moment she found Neil unconscious.

"He was just laying on his back on the terrace," said Julie.

"He was not breathing, and it was difficult to ascertain a pulse.

"Martina [Neil's mother] did not know what had happened to him. She found him like that.

"We did not know at the time he had fallen from the top of the building."

It was then that Julie's instincts kicked into action, administering CPR, a skill she teaches to students in the USA.

"You just do what you are trained to do in the moment," she said.

Although she is back in Massachusetts, Julie wants to return to Limerick as soon as possible to see Neil, Martin and the Shanahan family.

"I cannot wait to see them again, and give that little one a really big hug, and give them all a big hug," she said. "It sounds like he is making amazing progress."

The miracle toddler - who bears no physical scars from his dramatic fall - will have a special treat to look forward to this Christmas.

He has been invited by mayor Kieran O'Hanlon to switch on Limerick's festive lights.

Mr O'Hanlon said: "The two of us are going to switch on the Christmas lights this year. We will switch on those lights together."

Neil's mother Martina has previously said she is convinced that her little boy was saved in a miracle.

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