Heart attack survivor backs Cork's defibrillator drive

A man who survived a massive heart attack thanks to a publicly available defibrillator has backed plans for a network of the life-saving devices across Cork City.

Photo: Brian Daly, president of Cork Lions Club; Noreen Gannon of Gallagher’s Gastropub, and AED survivor Nigel O’Sullivan at Gallagher’s Gastropub on MacCurtain Street, Cork as the launch of the city’s second 24/7 publicly available AED. Below: The locations of defibrillators in Cork City. Picture: David Keane

Nigel O’Sullivan, 51, from Tower, in Cork, plans to present a defibrillator to the Cork Lions Club which is spearheading the project: “The Lions Club is doing unbelievable work. I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for one of these devices and I’m delighted to do what I can to push this initiative forward.”

He was speaking yesterday as the Lions Club unveiled the city’s second 24/7 publicly available automatic external defibrillator (AED) on MacCurtain St.

They installed the first 24/7 AED on Oliver Plunkett St earlier this year, and replaced it after it was vandalised.

The second AED has now been installed on the wall of Gallagher’s gastro pub in the city’s Victorian Quarter.

Pub owner and manager, Noreen Gannon, said: “We were delighted when we were approached by the Lions Club and we are very happy to facilitate this service for the people of Cork.”

AED operator training for Gallagher’s staff and traders on the street will take place early in the new year.

Mr O’Sullivan also confirmed that he will donate to the Lions Club an AED which was donated to him last week by EireMed — just five weeks after his heart attack and two weeks after bypass surgery.

Management at the Savoy complex on St Patrick’s St, where Nigel runs Zenith Menswear, have agreed to allow the AED be installed in the building. A suitable site is being identified and it is hoped to have it in place early next year.

Martin Walley, who is heading up the Lions Club defibrillator project, said they are delighted that Mr O’Sullivan has backed the initiative and helped deliver what will be the city’s third 24/7 publicly accessible AED.

He said Mr O’Sullivan’s decision to speak out against the vandals who damaged the OIiver Plunkett St device and to highlight how an AED saved his life, has helped boost awareness of their project: “Nigel’s story had almost 80,000 views and it has really helped raise awareness about what we are trying to do.”

The Lions Club hopes to install 12 24/7 AEDs over coming months at strategic locations across the city to ensure that there is a device no more than two minutes from the city’s main routes, and no more than four minutes from anywhere on the city centre island.

They have set up a GoFundMe page to raise money, and Martin encouraged building owners to contact them about the possibility of locating the devices on their buildings: “We are open to offers and would be delighted to discuss with anyone the possibility of locating a device on their property.”

Mr O’Sullivan was cycling home from work on October 21 when he suffered a massive heart attack at Cloghroe Stores. The National Ambulance Control Centre alerted Blarney community first responders, who rushed to the scene.

Its members used a 24/7 AED located outside a shop in nearby Tower to save Mr O’Sullivan’s life, before he was rushed in critical condition to Cork University Hospital. He underwent bypass surgery three weeks later and while he is undergoing cardiac rehabilitation, he has returned to work.


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