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Daughter who saved her father’s life urges everyone to learn CPR

Caoimhe Costigan from Dublin had been on a bike ride with her father Colm when he suddenly collapsed and needed life-saving CPR compressions.

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Colm Costigan’s life was saved by his daughter Caoimhe performing CPR on him when he had a cardiac arrest while out cycling. Today (Friday Oct 16) is Irish Heart Foundation’s Restart a Heart Day – which encourages the public to learn CPR and triple a person’s chances of surviving cardiac arrest. (Robbie Reynolds/PA)

Colm Costigan’s life was saved by his daughter Caoimhe performing CPR on him when he had a cardiac arrest while out cycling. Today (Friday Oct 16) is Irish Heart Foundation’s Restart a Heart Day – which encourages the public to learn CPR and triple a person’s chances of surviving cardiac arrest. (Robbie Reynolds/PA)

Colm Costigan’s life was saved by his daughter Caoimhe performing CPR on him when he had a cardiac arrest while out cycling. Today (Friday Oct 16) is Irish Heart Foundation’s Restart a Heart Day – which encourages the public to learn CPR and triple a person’s chances of surviving cardiac arrest. (Robbie Reynolds/PA)

A young doctor who saved her father’s life by performing CPR on him has urged the public to learn it.

Caoimhe Costigan from Glasnevin in Dublin had been on a bike ride with her father Colm in rural Tipperary when she noticed he was slowing down and had dismounted.

He collapsed shortly afterwards.

“I literally put my phone on speaker, put it on dad’s chest and rang 999,” she said.

“I just started doing CPR without thinking about it really – the man on the phone was very helpful.

“I said to him that I was a doctor and that I was doing CPR.

“I was desperately worried about dad.

“I just kept trying to remember the stories of others who had survived a cardiac arrest with good-quality CPR.

“I didn’t do any doctoring at the side of the road, it was because I knew CPR.

“There was literally nothing else I could have done.”

Speaking out on Restart A Heart Day, Mr and Miss Costigan, who are both doctors, are encouraging everyone to learn how to do CPR, which can triple a person’s chances of survival from a cardiac arrest.

Although classes for the public have ceased due to Covid-19 restrictions, the Irish Heart Foundation has launched the two-week online campaign to help the public to learn the life-saving steps.

The charity commissioned an online video featuring the character of Manny Quinn that emphasises the two essential steps when performing CPR on a person in cardiac arrest.

The first step in CPR is to call 999 or 112 and the second is to push hard and fast on the centre of the chest.

Miss Costigan paused her CPR only briefly to ask somebody to give directions to the emergency services.

It was a full 22 minutes before the gardai arrived on the scene followed by paramedics, fire brigades and an army air ambulance.

At that stage Miss Costigan was able to step back and allow the ambulance crew to take over – crucially they had a defibrillator.

After emergency services were able to resuscitate him, Mr Costigan, originally from Offaly but living in Baldoyle, was airlifted to Limerick University Hospital, where he had a stent inserted followed by months of recovery.

Miss Costigan said she does not believe her medical training was a factor, insisting anyone could do what she did.

Brigid Sinnott, resuscitation manager at the Irish Heart Foundation, said thousands die every year in Ireland from cardiac arrest, with 70% of those deaths at home in front of a loved one.

“If someone who knows CPR can start performing compressions quickly they can double or even triple a person’s chances of survival,” she said.

“In 2018, 176 people survived a cardiac arrest because of the actions of somebody who knew CPR.

“If an extra 100,000 people learn CPR, we could potentially save an extra 60 lives a year on average.

“However a person’s chances of survival drop by 10% for every minute that passes without somebody performing CPR or using a defibrillator on them.

“That’s why at the Irish Heart Foundation we want to create a nation of lifesavers by training as many people as possible in CPR.”

The Irish Heart Foundation’s campaign is supported by the global healthcare company Abbott and ESB Networks.

To find out more go to www.irishheart.ie

PA