A BAREFIELD woman, whose quick action helped save the life of a man in Ennis at the weekend, is calling for greater availability of defibrillators and urging people to get CPR training.
Modest Trish Baker says she was “just in the right place at the right time”, when she came to the aid of a man who had gone into cardiac arrest in Cairde café on Barrack Street on Saturday morning.
The trained nurse sprang into action, when her daughter raised concerns about one of the customers. “I was out the back in the store room, when my daughter, Erin, came out to tell me he was asleep and he had gone a very funny colour. I came in and realised that he actually had arrested. On assessment, he didn’t have a pulse and he wasn’t breathing.
“My training as a nurse and as a CPR instructor just kicked in. I surprised myself. I’ve taught hundreds and hundreds of people how to do CPR but I’d never performed it on a live person myself at that point,” Trish said.
Having begun CPR, she called on one of her staff to rush to get a defibrillator that is on a wall at Market Place. “I knew where they were because, when I teach CPR, I always tell people to find out where their nearest defibrillator is, it’s so important.
“She was there and back in seconds. As it turns out, we didn’t have to use it because the paramedics arrived. He had gotten back some of his colour and they put the defibrillator on him a couple of times.”
The man was brought to University Hospital Limerick for treatment and he is understood to be in ICU.
Trish humbly batted away any suggestion that she is a hero, saying, “I did what most people would have done, I did the best I could but I’m delighted and proud that I had the skills to know what to do. I wouldn’t have had those only for my CPR training.”
In fact, she has inspired staff at the café to do CPR training themselves. “Not long ago, there was a lady choking here and she had to have the Heimlich manoeuvre.
“If you don’t have the skills and you don’t know what to do, it’s very scary. Just a few minutes after everything on Saturday, the staff here were coming up to me and saying ‘we have to learn how to do that so we’ll be doing training in CPR’. I would encourage everybody to learn how to do CPR.”
Trish is also hoping to see more defibrillators installed around the town, with potential plans to have the life-saving equipment put in place on Barrack Street, with the support of local traders.
“I know there are a lot of policies and procedures that need to be put in place before a defibrillator is installed, and I would have to get that information before anything, but they are in other parts of the town so it is something that can be done. If all of the businesses came together in the area, then maybe we could educate people on the benefits of the equipment and how to use it properly and fundraise to purchase it. Early defibrillation is the difference between survival and not surviving.”
Trish has nothing but praise for the staff of the café and the paramedics who arrived at the scene. “The staff here are all young and they were absolutely amazing. They just managed everything. One second, the café was full of people and, while I was doing CPR, I just looked up and the whole place was empty. They took everybody away and moved so quietly that I didn’t even notice.
“And, of course, the paramedics, who responded so promptly and so professionally, they were exceptional. I don’t think they get enough credit,” she concluded.