‘Air ambulance saved my life!’
Ballintubber businessman James Kenny has called on the Government to extend the air ambulance service, which he says saved his life after he suffered a heart attack at work last month.
Mr. Kenny was working in Kenny’s Bar and Lounge in Ballintubber when he fell ill. His sister, Eileen Kenny, contacted the emergency services and James was transported to University Hospital Galway within twenty minutes of the air ambulance arriving at the scene.
Speaking to the Roscommon People earlier this week, Mr. Kenny, an avid cyclist, said that the symptoms arrived out of the blue and that he had cycled long distance the day before without any sign of a problem.
“I was working at the bar and experienced a tightness in my chest which worsened as the day went on.
“Luckily, family members including my sister Eileen, her husband Jay and their children Arlene and Evan were there at the time. Eileen called the emergency services who instructed her to get the local defibrillator, which is situated in the middle of village.
“I was in danger. The chest pain came from nowhere. The previous day I had taken part in 20km time trials on the bike and felt absolutely fine. I had really pushed myself, but felt good,” he said.
James’ sister Eileen called the emergency services and was instructed to try to keep James comfortable until the advanced paramedic and FAST ambulance arrived at the scene. Eileen was kept up to date on the progress of the ambulance, which arrived approximately 25 minutes later.
James continued: “My sister went to get an overnight bag for my stay in the hospital and in the meantime the advance paramedic had contacted the air ambulance (based in Costume Barracks in Athlone).
“The paramedic informed Eileen that I was having a heart attack and that I would need to be airlifted immediately. He said that it would take 1 hour and 25 minutes by ambulance but that the air ambulance would be in Galway in 12 minutes and that I’d be in theatre within 15 minutes approximately.”
James was under no illusions as to how serious the situation had become.
“It was a matter of life and death and the air ambulance saved my life. It’s a great relief to know that the service is there,” he said.
James was taken by air ambulance to University Hospital Galway where he was successfully treated. He had high praise for the advance paramedics, the air ambulance crew and the staff at the hospital who were involved in his care.
“I’m indebted to all the medical staff and doctors who took care of me that day. I’m thankful too that Eileen (his sister) was here and that she acted so quickly,” he said.
James also had special praise for the air ambulance service and the crew of AC112 which is currently available from 9 am to 8 pm each day.
“Obviously it should be made more available. It’s a great achievement to transfer a patient to theatre in less than twenty minutes. The air ambulance is a wonderful service and I am delighted to know that they are now contemplating providing this service at night-time also. It’s saving lives.”
Thankfully, James has since made a full recovery and is back enjoying life to the full. He recently appeared in the St. Croan’s Sync Starz fundraising event as a member of an Abba tribute act. Thanks to the professionalism of those who tended to him that day in Ballintubber, James could see the lighter side of his ordeal.
“Two months ago I was asked by Trish Smith, Angela Kenny and Howard Simpson to take part in the St. Croan’s GAA event ‘Live at the Marquee’ for the official opening of their new stand and thankfully I was able to keep my promise. All the acts were terrific on the night and I was so glad to be able to take part!
“I couldn’t believe it when we won the competition as Abba. John Lynch (Shannonside FM) was the MC on the night and he asked ‘How did you feel when you hear you’d won?’ I told him I nearly had another heart attack!”