An Ardboe man has been described as a ‘walking miracle’ after two local doctors brought him back from the dead after 30 minutes.
Thomas Curran, who now lives in Philadelphia, flew home to see family in the area and had been home just a week when he suffered a killer heart attack at his sister Josie Campbell’s house on July 22.
The actions of his quick thinking nephew, Ciaran Campbell, were the first in a line of lucky breaks that played a part in saving the 54-year-old’s life.
After finding him sick in his car at around 1pm, Ciaran rushed Thomas to Stewartstown Health Centre, where doctors Brian Miller and Briege McGarvey were on hand despite usually going out for lunch.
The London-based primary school teacher then called Thomas’ wife and alerted his six siblings to the emergency.
And the doctors refused to give up on Thomas after he collapsed and died on the surgery floor, using CPR and five defibrillator shocks to bring him back to life.
When asked if he had felt unwell before suffering his heart attack, Thomas said: “I don’t remember” - so sister Josie filled in the gaps.
Among others, “Ciaran was his life saver,” she said.
Josie went on to explain how Thomas was leaving for Carrickmore to see wife Barbara and daughter Aine, 18, who were with family there, when he started to feel ill.
“Ciaran went out to him and then he phoned me and said ‘Mummy Thomas isn’t well’, and I says, ‘take him straight up to the doctors’.”
When they got to the Health Centre it was closed for lunch but “luckily Carmel [Lyttle], who’s usually up stairs, was down stairs” and heard them banging on the door, she said.
“The doctor came running down the stairs,” Josie added “they got him into the treatment room and he passed out.”
After that Thomas’ heart stopped and “he was gone” for 20-30 minutes, but the GPs kept trying to bring him back.
“They just worked and worked on him,” Josie said, “then they finally got a pulse.
“They did the defibrillator five times... it was right beside him - everything just worked out so well.”
Aside from the GPs and surgery staff who helped save him, Thomas has also praised Fr Fee who rushed to give his blessing, the paramedics who alerted the Cardiology Cath Lab as they rushed him to Craigavon Hospital, Intensive Care and One North staff who nursed him back to health.
“They all need stars,” Thomas said. “They are the finest people that have ever worked on me. I hear people saying the hospitals are bad, but I don’t see anything bad about them.”
“He’s a walking miracle, no brain damage or anything with the lack of oxygen for half an hour,” Josie added.
And Thomas agrees.
He said that day he was wearing his favourite T-shirt, which said: “Jesus loves you. But I’m his favourite.”