Limerick teacher survived cardiac arrest thanks to CPR

By June Shannon CPR News   |   10th Oct 2018

Hazelwood College in Limerick received a special CPR 4 Schools recognition award from the Irish Heart Foundation.

Two years ago, Limerick teacher Michelle Herbert (pictured above on the left) suffered a cardiac arrest while playing camogie and thanks to Sarah Jane Joy (pictured above on the right) , a player on the opposing team who delivered lifesaving CPR and used an external defibrillator, Michelle survived.

On the 09 October 2016, Michelle, who teaches chemistry and agricultural science in Hazelwood College in Limerick, suffered a cardiac arrest while playing for Newcastlewest in the Limerick Junior Camogie Final and she credits the quick thinking of Sarah Jane Joy with saving her life.

It took 12 rounds of CPR and eight shocks from the defibrillator to get Michelle’s heart beating again. Despite being unconscious for 26 minutes Michelle has made a complete recovery thanks to effective CPR.

“Only the fact that the people that I was surrounded by were able to do such effective CPR I definitely would not be here today. My life was saved by accurate CPR, unfortunately not everyone is as lucky as I am,” Michelle said.

"At Hazelwood College, we are delighted to be helping create a generation of lifesavers who will have the skills and knowledge to recognise someone in a cardiac arrest and perform CPR,"

Michelle Herbert, Teacher , Hazelwood College, Limerick

Michelle and Sarah Jane were reunited yesterday (Tuesday 09 October) at a special occasion to mark the two-year anniversary of this life changing event where students at Hazelwood College, the Limerick secondary school where Michelle teaches, spent the day learning how to perform CPR.

The school is aiming to equip nearly 600 people – students and staff – with the confidence and skills to perform CPR in their communities should the need ever arise.

The day took place as part of the school’s participation in the Irish Heart Foundation’s CPR 4 Schools programme. The programme, which is supported by Bank of Ireland, is a secondary school initiative which aims to create a new generation of lifesavers in Ireland who can perform CPR and use an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) in cardiac emergencies.

As a result of Hazlewood College’s work and commitment to training students in CPR, the school received a special recognition award at the event from the Irish Heart Foundation.

Not only were students equipped to save the lives of others, but through a variety of activities on the day such as yoga, mindfulness, and numerous guest speakers, they were also encouraged to develop their own wellbeing and personal resilience. It is hoped that all students and teachers in the school will not only be able to perform CPR in the future but will also feel positive, energised and have a new appreciation for life.

“We are delighted to be here in Hazelwood College for today’s event. Michelle and her colleagues here in the school are incredible ambassadors for CPR 4 Schools and we are thrilled to present the school with a Special Recognition Award,"

Laura Hickey, Children and Young People Programme Manager, Irish Heart Foundation,

Speaking at the event, Michelle Herbert said “At Hazelwood College, we are delighted to be helping create a generation of lifesavers who will have the skills and knowledge to recognise someone in a cardiac arrest and perform CPR. No one knows when they may need to use this skill, so it is vital that as many people in the country as possible are confident in this lifesaving skill.

“Initially we wanted to just focus on CPR”, she continued, “but we have broadened the day so that we have a more holistic approach to wellbeing. Our school motto is ‘Achieving Our Full Potential’ and we really feel today is the perfect example of this.”

Speaking at the event, Laura Hickey, Children and Young People Programme Manager, Irish Heart Foundation, said, “We are delighted to be here in Hazelwood College for today’s event. Michelle and her colleagues here in the school are incredible ambassadors for CPR 4 Schools and we are thrilled to present the school with a Special Recognition Award to acknowledge the exceptional work they have done to train students and staff in CPR.

“5,000 lives are lost every year in Ireland to sudden cardiac death – that’s 13 lives lost every day. But CPR is a lifesaving skill. If you start CPR, you can double or even triple a person’s chance of survival. Through the Irish Heart Foundation’s CPR 4 Schools programme, we are hoping to train 360,000 secondary school children in CPR and in the process create a new generation of lifesavers.”

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