Back from Dead

This is a true story. Note the date the 999 call was made.

A pregnant woman who was clinically dead for 30 minutes has made a full recovery and is about to give birth thanks to the heroic efforts of a paramedic team.

Catherine Curran, said she owes her life and that of her unborn baby to a paramedic team from the Dublin Fire Brigade and the Health Service Executive (HSE), who were honoured for their efforts at the weekend.

The mother of three went without oxygen for 30 minutes and was given the last rites after suffering cardiac arrest due to Sudden Adult Death Syndrome (SADS) on September 9, 2009.

She was eight weeks’ pregnant when she fell out of bed and stopped breathing until an advanced paramedic team from the HSE was able to revive her heart using a defibrillator and adrenaline injection.

She survived the initial attack but her prognosis was bleak and she was left temporarily blind, paralysed and cognitively impaired due to brain damage she suffered during the ordeal.

But six months later, after extensive rehabilitation therapy, she has all but recovered.

She is now looking forward to the birth of her baby next month, whose development appears to be normal.

“My recovery is miraculous and everybody has said that,” Mrs Curran said last night.

“I was told that only 6pc of people survive SADS and only 3pc of those are left unscathed.”

“My obstetrician said: ‘This is unknown territory for me.’ They had never seen someone who was pregnant go through this before.”


Ms Curran’s husband credits the swift action of the paramedic team for saving his wife and unborn child. “They did an absolutely amazing job. Every second is like hours for the potentially lethal damage to her and the baby,” he said.

He rang 999, which coincidentally corresponds to the date of the ordeal, and paramedic Joe Watson of the Tara Street brigade control room talked him through performing CPR over the phone, while a paramedic team rushed to their home.

They administered a defibrillator several times but Catherine continued to flatline until the combined effect of the defibrillator and injections revived her.

They then rushed her to Beaumont Hospital where she remained for two months after the ordeal.

The paramedic team, including Mr Watson and the five-man Dublin Fire Brigade unit and the HSE ambulance crew, were all given plaques for their efforts at a commendation ceremony on Saturday.

Dublin Fire Brigade Assistant Fire Chief Ritchie Hedderman said the brigade decided to honour the team after Mr Curran wrote him a letter expressing his gratitude.

“I was so impressed by the letter that I thought the fire brigade staff should be commended,” he said.

“It’s the first time we’ve had someone write back and say: ‘Well done, you saved my wife’s life’ and we thought we should reward them,” he said.

“It looked like a hopeless situation. But Mrs Curran is living proof that if you can get shock into someone soon enough, their chances of recovery are excellent.”

Information Source: – 30 March 2010.

6 Responses to Back from Dead

  1. Grannymar says:

    An Amazing story.

  2. Steph says:

    Grannymar – It is indeed an extraordinary story.

    With all the gloom and doom around at the moment, I thought a good news story was called for.

  3. Annb says:

    What a fantastic story thanks – I needed that, it’s been a long week.

  4. Baino says:

    Sudden death is a syndrome now? what will they think of next. Lucky woman, very lucky woman.

  5. Steph says:

    Annb – T’was my pleasure 😀

    Baino – Sorry to touch on such a delicate topic for you. Thankfully this SADS story has a happy ending.

    In a medical context, SADS refers to Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndrome. The phrase Sudden Adult Death Syndrome or SADS has been adopted by the media for referring to the sudden death of an apparently fit and healthy young person.

    Here’s a little more information on it…

  6. […] One-in-a-million Remember my story about the woman back from dead? […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: