Woman from County Londonderry in cardiac arrest: "Grateful to be alive"

Mr. Aoife Boyle

After her heart needed to be restarted seven times, a 22-year-old woman said she is grateful to be alive.

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

After Aoife suffered a cardiac arrest, her friend, a nurse, placed her in the recovery position and administered CPR.

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

The 22-year-old woman from Eglinton, County Londonderry, who has no family history of heart disease, was advised that a virus may have caused the swelling and extra fluid around her heart.

Aoife is currently recovering at home while donning a vest with a defibrillator and awaiting additional tests.

According to Tanya Boyle, mother of Aoife, she received the call that is "every parent's worst nightmare.".

She said, "Aoife was meeting her friends for lunch at a pub, they just got 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 instructed me to arrive as soon as possible. ".

Aoife Boyle pictured in hospital
In a hospital photo, friends Dylan McElhatton, Kerri-Lyn Wray, and Leah Bell are seen with Aoife.

Ms. Boyle expressed her unending gratitude for Aoife's friend Aideen McGuiness's nursing background.

Until the ambulance crews arrived, Ms. McGuiness gave her friend CPR.

At Altnagelvin Hospital, Aoife experienced additional cardiac arrests.

Ms. Boyle claimed that her sister and other family members once gathered close to Aoife's hospital bed while she was being video called.

She had left the hospital to return home and get some clothing.

"I was on FaceTime to Aoife and I just saw the phone fall, and I heard squealing and shouting for nurses," she recalled.

Aoife pictured before boarding flight
Before being airlifted to a specialized hospital in England, Aoife was first transferred to the Royal Victoria Hospital.

Aoife was moved to Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital and later flown to England and the specialized Freeman Hospital in Newcastle.

According to Ms. Boyle, she experienced seven cardiac arrests in less than 11 days.

"In five of them, she stopped breathing, and they had to perform CPR; in two of them, they didn't have to perform CPR, but they still had to sedate and shock the patient in order to restore her heartbeat.

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

Aoife pictured with her mum Tanya and brother Patrick
In the hospital, Aoife is seen with her mother Tanya and brother Patrick.

Aoife admitted to BBC News NI that she had little recollection of passing out at the bar or of the hospitals in Derry and Belfast.

"I only started taking different medications when I moved to Newcastle," she claimed. "I would go through phases of good and bad days, but reality eventually set in.

I never experienced anxiety before, but when it hit, it was so bad that I wouldn't let my mother leave my side.

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

The staff at all three hospitals, according to Aoife, and her friend Aideen deserve nothing but the greatest gratitude.

She said, "Every doctor we saw said I was a very lucky girl to be alive, and we just can't thank people enough.

"I was living a typical life—started a new job, did everything a 22-year-old would do—and then suddenly this happens.

"When something like this occurs, you must maintain the perspective that life is far too short.

. "

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