A Cork woman who suffered a sudden cardiac arrest outside her home last year, and who has credited emergency services with helping to save her life, joined crew from the Irish Community Air Ambulance as its new helicopter went into service.
The Irish Community Air Ambulance recently took delivery of a Leonardo 109S helicopter, which is the fastest civilian helicopter in the world.
The new aircraft, which will go into full service from today offers more speed, greater patient comfort and it has the capacity to take on more fuel increasing endurance and range.
20-year-old Clodagh Lynch from Bantry in Cork travelled in the previous helicopter.
The UCC student suffered a sudden cardiac arrest outside her home on May 30 last year.
Clodagh’s mother is a nurse and immediately began CPR.
Her brother alerted the emergency services and the Irish Community Air Ambulance arrived in 13 minutes.
Clodagh says: “Once I was stabilised, I was airlifted to Cork University Hospital. I spent six weeks recovering before I was allowed home. I believe that only for the quick actions of the Air Ambulance crew supported by other emergency responders I wouldn’t be here today.
"The Irish Community Air Ambulance is an invaluable service. I know they will continue to make a difference to the lives of people who find themselves in an emergency situation like I did.”
Irish Community Air Ambulance Chief Executive Mícheál Sheridan said the new helicopter will have a number of benefits.
“The small gains can have the greatest benefit to the patient’s comfort and outcomes. This new helicopter offers more speed but it also has additional room at the rear. We can transport adult patients more comfortably and we also have space for an additional medic on board, if necessary.”
Mr Sheridan added: “In recent weeks we’ve airlifted seriously ill patients to both CUH and the Mater during one shift. That highlights the speed and versatility of our service. We’re also called upon to transport paediatric emergency cases to Temple Street Children’s Hospital.
"Our new helicopter has more space for the parents of children who may need to be transferred over long distances to Dublin and will be able to get them there that bit faster.”
The charity heli-med service has responded to almost 1,000 incidents from its base in Rathcoole, County Cork since it was established in July 2019.
Cardiac arrests account for the most incidents so far this year, followed by road traffic collisions and farming accidents.