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vital American tourist praises 'calm and professional' Irish Air Ambulance team after heart attack

'I was astonished to hear it is 100pc charity-funded. I was lying in my hospital bed wondering what this would cost me. It is such a great service'

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US tourist Michael Almada suffered a serious cardiac blockage while on holiday in Kilfenora, Co Clare with his wife Pam.

US tourist Michael Almada suffered a serious cardiac blockage while on holiday in Kilfenora, Co Clare with his wife Pam.

US tourist Michael Almada suffered a serious cardiac blockage while on holiday in Kilfenora, Co Clare with his wife Pam.

An American tourist has paid tribute to the Irish Community Air Ambulance (ICAA) for helping save his life after a heart attack.

Michael Almada (68) suffered a heart attack while on holiday in north Clare but, thanks to the ICAA and Clare paramedics, he was rushed to University Hospital Limerick (UHL) in a matter of minutes.

The holidaymaker, who was in Ireland with his wife, Pam, said he believes he owes his life to the air ambulance crew and local paramedics after he suffered a serious cardiac blockage.

Mr Almada, from Cape Cod in Massachusetts, was in a rented cottage in Kilfenora last month for an extended break after retiring last year.

“I was in no way a candidate for a coronary but the crushing pressure that filled my chest that morning left me in no doubt I was having a heart attack,” he said.

“My wife, Pam, thankfully was there to get help and was supported by our wonderful neighbours.”

Mr Almada was initially assessed by a paramedic crew who arrived by ambulance within minutes.

They realised it was serious cardiac blockage and that Mr Almada needed to be airlifted to UHL.

The ICAA team landed the air ambulance in a field behind the cottage.

When he arrived at UHL, he was rushed into the operating theatre.

The entire transfer by helicopter took only 20 minutes, whereas Mr Almada’s wife, who followed by car, arrived at UHL an hour and 10 minutes later.

“The pain I was experiencing at the time was excruciating but my biggest concern was my family, I was wondering would they have to bring me home in a box?” he said.

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“Once I saw the crew of the helicopter I knew I was going to make it. The ambulance and helicopter crews were so calm and professional.

“Sure, it took a great surgical team, coronary care unit staff and a host of support players to bring about a great outcome, but the Irish Community Air Ambulance was a vital link without which I would either not be here, or here in a terribly reduced state.”

Mr Almada spent four days in UHL and is recovering ahead of his return to the US. He is now able to walk for 40 minutes a day.

“I didn’t even know such an [air ambulance] option existed nor would I have ever thought I would be needing it,” he said.

“I was astonished to hear it is 100pc charity-funded. I was lying in my hospital bed wondering what this would cost me. It is such a great service, to think that the air ambulance could be in north Clare so quickly and airlift me straight to hospital.

“My family and I thank the crew and the supporters of this great community service so very much, far beyond what we can put in words and will remain lifelong supporters.”

The ICAA is on track to complete 500 missions in 2021, a 10pc hike on last year.

The majority of its call-outs involve road traffic collisions, cardiac arrests, farming accidents, equestrian incidents and falls from heights.

 

 

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