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Sunday 19 January 2020

'Put defibrillators in all stations' - hero garda who helped save man's life during cardiac arrest

Garda Erica Delaney saved Alan Fitzsimons’ life in Clondalkin Garda Station
Garda Erica Delaney saved Alan Fitzsimons’ life in Clondalkin Garda Station

A hero garda who helped save a man's life after he went into cardiac arrest at her station believes that all garda stations should be equipped with defibrillators as standard.

Garda Erica Delaney, who is based at Clondalkin Garda Station, helped save the life of contract worker Alan Fitzsimons when he had a heart attack while working in the station at around 7.40am on February 27.

Last week, in a sign of deep appreciation for the hero garda, Mr Fitzsimons and family members arrived in the west Dublin station to present Gda Delaney with flowers and chocolates.

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"I believe defibrillators should be in all garda stations - there isn't one here in Clondalkin and it is only pure luck that we did not have a fatality on our hands when the incident happened in February," Gda Delaney told Independent.ie.

The Roscommon native explained that she was working in the public office on the morning when Detective Sergeant Darragh Kenny arrived at her station asking if there was a defibrillator there.

"He was new to the station and very calm so I thought he was making a general enquiry about whether we had a defibrillator," Gda Delaney said.

"But then he informed me that a man had collapsed on the third floor.

"I knew we didn't have one but I also knew that there was a defibrillator at the South Dublin County Council building, just across the road.

"I ran across and got it and then I rushed up to where Alan was being helped by Detective Eamon O'Brien, who was giving Alan chest compressions," she said.

Gda Delaney then put the defibrillator to use on Mr Fitzimons before administering CPR on him with colleagues' help.

A defibrillator
A defibrillator

An ambulance crew arrived at the station six minutes after Gda Delaney and her colleagues had begun working on Mr Fitzsimons and they then took over from the gardai.

Survival

"People who have cardiac arrests have such a small survival rate when it happens outside a hospital environment, so it was just pure luck we got our hands on the defibrillator," she said.

"I was a qualified lifeguard when I was younger, but I never was in a situation like that before.

"I am so relieved that Alan is OK and it was a lovely gesture when he visited me in the station."

According to Dublin Fire Brigade and a heart expert, Gda Delaney's heroic actions saved Raheny man Mr Fitzsimons's life.

Gda Delaney is the second female officer at Clondalkin to save someone's life this year.

In October, Detective Niamh Connaughton was hailed a hero after saving a man's life when he collapsed while taking part in the Dublin City Marathon.

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