herald

Wednesday 28 June 2017

Team effort ensures pals' CPR saves runner Noel's life

Noel has thanked his friends
Noel has thanked his friends

A running enthusiast has told how his friends brought him back to life after he suffered a heart attack on St Stephen's Day.

Builder Noel Tobin collapsed in Marlay Park, south Dublin, just moments before he was due to start a jog with friends Peter Knaggs, Erica Calder and Noel Lynam.

The 53-year-old, who is a member of Sportsworld Running Club, stopped breathing and his friends knew they would have to act fast.

Peter started performing CPR with Noel while Erica contacted an ambulance.

Speaking to the Herald from his bed in St James's Hospital, Noel said he owes Peter and the others his life.

"Only for Peter, I wouldn't be around today," he said.

Recalling the events of St Stephen's Day morning, he added: "I drove into Marlay Park on Monday. I was due to meet Peter up there at 9.30am.

"To be honest, I don't remember any of it, I don't even remember parking the car.

"When I got to him, I collapsed, I knew nothing about it at all.

"I was told it was a heart attack, a big one."

The next thing that Noel knew, he was waking up in a hospital bed.

Peter said he and Erica had completed a first responder course only six weeks ago and, when Noel collapsed, they knew exactly what to do.

Compressions

"We did the course, not thinking that we would ever need it," he said.

"Little did we know that we would need to use it yesterday morning.

"Noel collapsed initially, and then he stopped breathing. I immediately started the compressions.

"Erica was on the phone to the emergency services in front of me.

"Noel was helping us adjust Noel's head.

"I just did the compressions. I was conscious of doing the right tempo.

"He started breathing again and a short time later emergency services arrived."

Peter estimates that they were performing CPR for 11 minutes. At one point a good Samaritan took over from Peter after he became tired.

"It was very much a team effort. I'm just so grateful that there were other people there," he said.

"I would encourage anyone to attend a first responder course. It's really, really important."

Noel was continuing to receive treatment in St James's last night.

He said he is eternally grateful to his friends.

"Peter kept me going while we were waiting for the ambulance crew to get to the park," he said.

"He was looking out for me, and if it wasn't for him I wouldn't be around today."

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