County Londonderry woman who suffered a cardiac arrest is grateful to be alive

Boyle, Aoife

A 22-year-old woman whose heart had to be restarted seven times expressed gratitude for her continued existence.

Aoife Boyle first passed out last month while having lunch with friends in a Londonderry pub.

Aoife went into cardiac arrest, and her friend, a nurse, put her in the recovery position and gave her CPR.

The civil servant experienced a total of seven cardiac arrests over the course of 11 days and spent weeks in three hospitals—two in Northern Ireland and one in England.

It was suggested that the 22-year-old woman from Eglinton, County Londonderry, who has no family history of heart conditions, may have contracted a virus that caused swelling and extra fluid to surround her heart.

At the moment, Aoife is recuperating at home while donning a defibrillator vest and awaiting additional tests.

Tanya Boyle, Aoife's mother, told BBC News NI that she received the phone call that is "every parent's worst nightmare.".

She explained, "Aoife was meeting her friends for lunch at a pub, they just walked in through the door, they didn't even make it to sit down, and the next thing she just collapsed and started taking seizures.

"They immediately called me and told me to hurry up. ".

Aoife Boyle pictured in hospital
With Aoife in the hospital are friends Dylan McElhatton, Kerri-Lyn Wray, and Leah Bell.

Ms. Boyle expressed her eternal gratitude to Aoife's friend Aideen McGuiness for being a skilled nurse.

As ambulance personnel approached, Ms. McGuiness gave her friend CPR.

Aoife experienced additional cardiac arrests while being treated at Altnagelvin Hospital.

Aoife's hospital bed was once surrounded by family members who were video calling her, according to Ms. Boyle's account.

To get some clothes to bring back to the hospital, she had gone home.

She said, "I was on FaceTime with Aoife when I just saw the phone fall and I heard squealing and shouting for nurses.".

Aoife pictured before boarding flight
Aoife was moved to the Royal Victoria Hospital and then flown to an English specialty hospital.

Aoife was transported to Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital before being airlifted to Newcastle, England's specialized Freeman Hospital, in the future.

She experienced seven cardiac arrests in less than 11 days, Ms. Boyle told BBC News NI.

"In five of them, they had to perform CPR after she stopped breathing; in the other two, they had to sedate and shock the patient in order to restore her heartbeat.

"We were informed that her heart function was between 10% and 20% when we arrived in Newcastle. ".

Aoife pictured with her mum Tanya and brother Patrick
Picture of Aoife in the hospital with her mother Tanya and brother Patrick.

Aoife admitted to BBC News NI that she couldn't recall collapsing in the bar or visiting the hospitals in Derry and Belfast.

It wasn't until I moved to Newcastle and began taking various medications, she claimed. I would experience good and bad days, but eventually reality set in.

"I wouldn't have been anxious before, but my anxiety got so bad that I wouldn't let my mother out of my sight.

"I was afraid to sleep because the cardiac arrests would typically occur when I was asleep at night. ".

Aoife expressed her gratitude to the staff at all three hospitals, as well as to her friend Aideen.

Any doctor we visited told us that we were extremely lucky that I was still alive. We are so grateful, she continued.

"I was living a typical life, starting a new job, and acting like any other 22-year-old when this abruptly occurs.

"The attitude you need to have when something like this happens is that life is far too short.

. "

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