Back from the brink: Cardiac arrest sufferer displays importance of lifesaving equipment

By Gary Connaughton (Twitter: @gconnaughton15)

On September 13th 2015, Cathal Joyce suffered a cardiac arrest prior to a gaelic football match in Mullingar, Co. Westmeath.

Having felt unwell in the warm-up, he collapsed shortly after.

His brother James, who was also the team’s physio, immediately began to perform CPR, with a defibrillator also being used.

Ultimately, it was the use of this equipment that saved Cathal’s life.

Had a defibrillator not been available, he would not be here today.

Cathal would go on to be diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which essentially means that he has an enlarged heart, which can struggle to pump blood as a result.

He underwent surgery and was fitted with an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD), which will kickstart his heart should he suffer another cardiac arrest.

After being told he would never play sport again, Cathal would undergo an incredible recovery, returning to the field of play only six months later.

He now spends a large part of his time travelling around the country educating people on the importance of defibrillators, while also giving classes in potentially life-saving CPR.

With a number of incidents being reported in the media in recent times where defibrillators have been tampered with by members of the public, Cathal was at the forefront of the campaign for a new Government bill to be introduced to combat the issue.

As a result of the efforts of Cathal and others, the ‘Life Saving Equipment Bill 2017’ imposes heavy penalties on those who temper with items such as defibrillators or buoys,

This article and video is a submission to the annual University of Limerick / Landmark Media video competition

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