Lisburn woman Lynda Donaldson: ‘‘My life was saved by two passers-by using CPR and a defibrillator’’

In a vital example of how important it is to know CPR and where to access our local defibrillators, Lynda Donaldson tells Alderman Stephen Martin her remarkable story of how her life was saved by two passers-by after suffering a cardiac arrest.

Thursday, 12th August 2021, 4:42 pm
The Mayor of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council, Alderman Stephen Martin and Lynda Donaldson pictured at Castle Gardens

Mayor of Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council, Alderman Stephen Martin, has met with Lisburn woman Lynda Donaldson who reveals her remarkable story of surviving a cardiac arrest after two passers-by saved her life by using a defibrillator and carrying out CPR.

Lynda’s incredible first-hand account follows the shocking cardiac arrest of Denmark’s Christian Eriksen who collapsed on the world stage of football during a Euro game against Finland.

It understandably caused local residents to ask what measures we have in place within our community, which led to Councillor Martin reaching out to Lynda in a bid to emphasise to residents just how vital our local defibrillators, and knowing where they are and understanding how to perform CPR, truly is.

The Mayor of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council, Alderman Stephen Martin and Lynda Donaldson pictured at Castle Gardens

‘‘It generated a lot of discussion around what we were doing in our local community, around helping and ensuring people who do suffer a cardiac arrest have the facilities on hand to be able to survive such an incident,’’ Mayor Martin explains.

‘‘We are a heart city, the home of Professor Frank Patridge who was the inventor of the portable defibrillator.

‘‘The council over many years have invested quite heavily in portable defibrillators and so as an area, we are very well served.’’

Lynda’s story began on a ‘normal’ day whilst out and about in Lisburn: ‘‘I went to put my hand out to say ‘I don’t feel well’ but I didn’t even get the words out and I just dropped to the ground.

‘‘I had no pain, there was no warning that this was going to happen to me - I just dropped within seconds.

‘‘I had suffered a cardiac arrest and what that means is that my heart had stopped beating and my lungs were no longer working - so I was in real trouble.’’

In an extraordinary twist of fate, two passers-by with knowledge of CPR and first-aid saw Lynda and immediately came to her rescue.

‘‘Michelle, who is a school nurse, was on her way home and because they were tarmacking the road the traffic was slow, so she was going past in slow speed and noticed I was lying on the pavement,’’ Lynda explains.

‘‘As a school nurse she recognised I needed urgent attention immediately and so she started doing CPR and chest compressions. Whilst she was doing the chest compressions, there was a fella driving past called Phil Bat.

‘‘Phil is a first aid trainer and he had a defibrillator in his car - so he stopped immediately and brought it over.

‘‘They gave me one shock from the defibrillator and a little bit more CPR and I was resuscitated within minutes.’’

Discussing the shocking statistic that less than 10 per cent of people who have a cardiac arrest out of hospital survive here, Lynda reveals: ‘‘The key to my survival is that they acted right away, there was no delay.

‘‘As soon as Michelle realised I needed CPR, the CPR was started and thankfully Phil brought the defibrillator.

‘‘It’s an unbelievable story that you would get those two people coming along just when you need them, but it did happen.

‘‘There is a good number of defibrillators in and around Lisburn now so there is more chance that there is going to be a defibrillator somewhere closeby.

‘‘Even if someone has to do CPR for a longer period of time, the defibrillator can be brought and the shock given.

‘‘It will only shock someone if they require the shock and their heart is in a shockable rhythm. It’s never going to do anyone any harm.

‘‘So it is a very safe piece of kit, very easy to use - but the key to it is the quality of the CPR. I would encourage everyone to learn how to do CPR.

‘‘A key thing happening at the minute is that a paper has been brought to the Northern Ireland Assembly and that is to try to introduce CPR onto the curriculum for all post-primary schools.

‘‘I would love people to give it their support if they can - and we will have a nation of lifesavers.

‘‘I urge everyone to please learn CPR.

‘‘Kevin Madden has put on a video of how to do CPR and how a defibrillator works so do have a look at that and have a go.’’

Lisburn has various public defibrillators located in our parks and council facilities. For a full list of these, visit: http://www.nias.hscni.net/our-services/aed/aed-mapping.