Christy O’Reilly and David Hearne (City Square), Danette Connolly (NAS), Michael Murphy

Pictured at City Square were, from left: Christy O’Reilly and David Hearne (City Square), Danette Connolly (NAS), Michael Murphy

A 17-year-old school student’s life was saved at City Square Shopping Centre on Saturday last thanks to the provision of an in-store Automated External Defibrillator (AED) which staff there have been trained to use.

Having called an ambulance, security officers Michael Murphy and Christy O’Reilly retrieved the store’s AED and provided the life-saving treatment which the young man, who had suffered heart failure, desperately required.

An off-duty nurse administered CPR before the ambulance arrived to transfer the student to Waterford Regional Hospital’s intensive care unit.

The actions of Christy and Michael have been hailed by Danette Connolly of Nursing and Allied Services (NAS), whose AED service firm is based at the Cleaboy Business Park.

“Nothing like this had ever happened before in City Square, so to see the AED and the training the staff received work to such good effect, live saving effect in this instance, underlined its significance,” she said.

Speaking to The Munster Express, Ms Connolly said this incident demonstrated the urgent need for greater AED provision “in areas with high footfall”.

Minutes matter greatly when it comes to treating a person with cardiac arrest, which is why Ms Connolly believes more AEDs and more AED training is critical in her view.

“The print-out from that day in City Square showed that it took 11 minutes for the ambulance to get there after the alarm was raised,” she said. “The staff had deployed and began operating the AED within two to three minutes of the victim collapsing.

“For every minute that passes between the onset of an arrest and treatment, the chances of a person’s survival are reduced by 10 per cent. So if a defibrillator isn’t used within 10 minutes, the chances of survival are virtually non-existent.

“For every minute that passes between onset of cardiac arrest and treatment, chances of survival are reduced by 10 percent.

“In other words, if a defibrillator is not used within 10 minutes, the victim’s chances of survival are practically nil, so what happened at City Square offered a prime example of the AED’s effectiveness.”

The AED programme was implemented by NAS little over a year ago, one of several workplaces in the city with such safety provisions in place, including Bausch & Lomb and Teva.

City Square Manager Alan Weston was “very proud” of the Group4 security team who saved a life “through their quick thinking and level headedness”.

He added: “Their AED training was put to good use and as a result a young life has been saved. It would have been an altogether more tragic outcome if City Square didn’t have an AED, comprehensive training from NAS and the outstanding personnel to administer it.”

Ms Connolly recently met with Waterford Chamber officials to discuss the increased provision of AEDs in the city centre. “What happened in City Square only goes to show that we need more defibrillators in the city,” she continued.

When an AED is installed in a business/club, NAS contact the ambulance service to make them aware of the extension of this life-saving provision. The machine itself costs approximately €1300 (including VAT).

“At the moment, we’re not sure how many AEDs have been installed in Waterford and I believe that collating such information into a local register would be a welcome development,” Ms Connolly added.

“Approximately 10,000 people die each year from cardiovascular disease (CVD), coronary heart disease, stroke and other circulatory diseases.

“Where concentrated volumes of people work and gather each day, there is a heightened risk of one of those suffering from CVD, and that is why AEDs should be located in shopping centres, business centres, sports clubs and anywhere there is a large volume of people.”