Irish rugby fan gives CPR to New Zealand rugby officer after his heart stopped


An Irish rugby fan gave CPR to a man in New Zealand after his heart stopped and he collided with several parked cars.

ara Hartigan, 42, from Limerick, gave Dean Herewini, 56, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation after his heart stopped on Saturday’s drive to Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand.

Ms Hartigan, who is leading a tour of New Zealand with Irish rugby fans, was attending a pre-match party at Eden Park when she heard a crash followed by a scream.

“It’s the best feeling in the world,” Ms. Hartigan said Otago Daily Times being able to help Mr Herewini. “I didn’t know if I did it right, but it worked, thank God.”

The former lifeguard and arena manager recalled her training but still wasn’t convinced she was helping Mr Herewini, a rugby union development officer in Waikato.

Ms. Hartigan gave Mr. Herewini mouth-to-mouth resuscitation in his car. He has no memory of anything after he pulled his vehicle into a parking lot and ran over a car before crashing into five others as he fell on the steering wheel.

“We tried to get the seat back,” Ms. Hartigan said. “I couldn’t tell you how long it took, but the sweat was pouring out of me.

“I called out, ‘can you hear me, come back to us’ like you see in the movies. Then he took a deep breath and just woke up.”

She said the rest of the evening, which she spent watching the All Blacks beat Ireland, was a blur.

“I have to admit that I cried a bit that night,” she told the newspaper.

Ms Hartigan had only found out a week earlier that she would be in New Zealand after starting a new job.

“The stars are definitely in our favor,” she said.

Mr Herewini’s twin brother Phil told the newspaper that Ms Hartigan’s quick thinking saved his sibling.

“We’re very fortunate that someone like that just jumped in and did what she did. It could have ended up being a bit messy,” he said.

“You read about these things. You see them on TV, but when you experience it firsthand, it’s amazing. We are so humbled and grateful.”

Mr Herewini was treated at Auckland City Hospital. He had taken his daughter and her friend to the game when he got sick.

His twin recounted how his brother collapsed and “put his right foot on the gas pedal and got into the next five cars.”

Kea, Mr Herewini’s daughter, panicked and called her uncle and Mrs Hartigan rushed over to help.

“This lady came out and came over and noticed that he had stopped breathing. She started CPR while he was in the car and he regained consciousness,” Kea said.

It was reported in Auckland that his heart had stopped beating for at least a minute.

Ms Hartigan said: “I didn’t know what was going on. His daughter was obviously very upset and was crying and calling for help.

“It just happened so quickly. People called an ambulance but no one went in and helped. It was just weird.”

Phil Herewini posted a public appeal on the Auckland Irish Club’s Facebook on Monday to find Ms Hartigan to thank her for saving his brother’s life.

He wrote: “This was a life saving situation and (we) would really like to extend our love and gratitude to this woman if anyone knows her…”

The couple have since spoken and Ms Hartigan told the newspaper how lovely it was to speak to Mr Herewini and hear his brother was in a “good place”.

She intends to meet Mr Herewini before leaving the country later this month. Irish rugby fan gives CPR to New Zealand rugby officer after his heart stopped

Fry Electronics Team

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