Great article by Eoin English in the Irish Examiner last week featuring local woman Siobhan Hogan, Blarney Community First Responder Jeremy Downey and all those who helped save the life of American tourist David Motte last April. David came back last week to thank all those who came to his aid when he went into cardiac arrest whilst visiting Blarney Castle, and to complete his journey to the top of the Castle!
Eoin English wrote, “His last visit to one of Ireland’s most famous tourist attractions ended in drama but it was all about hugs and tears of joy as US tourist David Motte returned to Blarney Castle to say thank you to those who saved his life. David, from North Carolina, and his wife, Joy, scaled the castle effortlessly and kissed its stone just five months after his dramatic airlift from its ramparts in cardiac arrest.
Speaking while overlooking the confined space from where he was winched aboard a Coast Guard helicopter, he said: “Looking at this now, I can’t believe what they did to get me out of here. “I was a goner — I shouldn’t be here. I’ve been told that by every doctor I’ve seen that I shouldn’t be here today, that I beat all the odds. It was a miracle. That’s the bottom line. I am so thankful to the people who risked their lives and their safety to do that.
David and Joy, who arrived in Ireland last April to trace Joy’s Irish heritage, were close to the top of the castle on April 20 when he collapsed with cardiac arrest. “The only memory I have is when I was out, in the castle, when I was gone, but my memories aren’t in this world,” he said. “But I was aware that I was gone. I was aware that God was holding me. “I was very clearly aware of being in God’s presence, of him holding me, and of incredible love and peace, and at a particular moment in time it was like he allowed me to come back. “I remember moaning and fighting and trying to lift my head, and I was terrified at that point because I felt I had left something I didn’t want to leave. And then I heard Joy’s voice in my ear saying ‘David it’s OK’ and at that point I remember relaxing and the next thing I remember is being in hospital the next day.
The couple met several people yesterday who were involved in his remarkable ‘chain of survival’, including Marie Cremin who raised the alarm with colleague Siobhan Hogan, who had completed a first-aid training course just two weeks earlier. Siobhan grabbed a defibrillator from the Coach House cafe and raced up the castle’s narrow steps to where David was receiving CPR. She told the couple yesterday that her hands were shaking as she applied the pads to David’s chest and shocked him three times. “I was very nervous but the training kicked in. I relived it for days afterwards,” she said. Jeremy Downey, a volunteer with Blarney Community First Responders, was on the scene a short time later and rendered assistance before HSE paramedics arrived and called in an airlift from the Shannon-based Coast Guard helicopter. David was winched from the castle top, transferred to a waiting ambulance, and rushed to Cork University Hospital. He said Joy’s experience of that day must have been difficult for her. I love her with all my heart. We’ve got 34 years, so we can go for another 34 years. Joy said: “I didn’t think he’d be here, let alone come back to the castle.” Tests show David has suffered no heart damage. He is in the gym four days a week, has lost 50lbs, and doctors say his prognosis is very good. “Life is short, life is not a guarantee,” he said. “Embrace the loved ones, the family and friends God has given us, don’t take a moment for granted because in a moment it can all be gone.”
Kate Durrant, a volunteer with Blarney First Responders, who helped Joy last April, and with whom the couple are staying, said their story proves the importance of publicly available defibrillators and the value of community or bystander CPR.”