Nigel O’Sullivan, 51, from Tower in Cork, spoke out yesterday following his discharge from Cork University Hospital (CUH) just days after bypass surgery.
“The defibrillator, and the people who used it, saved my life. It’s a simple as that. If it wasn’t for the crew, and the machine, I was gone,” he said.
“The people who damaged the machine in the city don’t know what they are doing, or how many peoples’ lives they could ruin. They just can’t see the consequences.
“When I was in hospital, my wife was told to prepare for the worst, that I probably wasn’t going to make it.
“Thankfully, I’m one of the lucky ones. But I would appeal to people to leave these machines alone. You never know when you might need it yourself.”
Mr O’Sullivan, who owns Zenith Menswear in the Savoy Centre in Cork City, was cycling home from work on October 21 when he stopped at Cloghroe Stores around 8pm. He collapsed inside without warning.
The National Ambulance Control Centre alerted Blarney community first responders, who rushed to the scene.
Volunteer Jeremy Downey arrived in less than four minutes, and found that the 24/7 defibrillator from the Centra shop and pharmacy in Tower had already been retrieved.
Kate Durrant, and Deborah Lynch, a cardiac nurse who works in CUH, arrived seconds later, with their own defibrillator.
They used CPR and the defibrillator to revive Mr O’Sullivan, before he was rushed by ambulance to CUH, where Mr O’Sullivan said his wife, Sandra, and their daughters, Rachel, 18, and Chloe, 16, were told to expect the worst.
But he improved, was well enough to undergo triple bypass surgery last Thursday, and is now at home and facing a lengthy period of cardiac rehabilitation.
Ms Durrant described it as a great outcome and said it highlights the importance of defibrillators and community first responder units. But she condemned those responsible for vandalising the AED in Cork City — twice in 24 hours last weekend.
“They are beneath contempt. Volunteers are breaking their guts to provide first responder cover and then you have mindless thugs destroying life-saving equipment,” she said.
Mr O’Sullivan said he now has a new outlook on life, hopes to thank those who saved his life, and support the introduction of more AEDs in Cork city.