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  • Northside East

Heroic women save child from drowning

Monday, 29th July, 2019 8:00am
Heroic women save child from drowning

The incident took place at Balbriggan beach. FILE PHOTO

Heroic women save child from drowning

The incident took place at Balbriggan beach. FILE PHOTO

A NORTHSIDE woman is calling for more people to learn CPR following a traumatic incident on a Northside beach. 

Last Tuesday (July 23), around 6pm, Geraldine Workman Phillips, her friend Denise Sherlock and another local woman, unknown to them at the time, Simona Bârlescu, saved a child who was in difficulty in the sea at Balbriggan.

Ms Workman Philips, who works as a CPR nurse in the community, told Northside People: “Myself and Denise were on the beach with our kids and we went down to the water with them.

“We saw a child lying in the water. I said to Denise: is that child ok? It seemed like she was playing.

“There was a woman beside us who we later found out was Simona and we thought she was the child’s mother but she wasn’t.

“She (Simona) lunged into the water to grab the child and then myself and Denise lunged in. 

“Denise told Simona I was a nurse and she handed the child to me. I took the child from the water and put her on the ground. I was going to start doing compressions and then she started crying. I told Denise to run up and get the lifeguard.

“Thankfully I’m trained in CPR so I was calm and collected. I teach CPR for the HSE.

“Luckily the child was breathing but she seemed to be going in and out of consciousness. There was white foam coming from her mouth.”

Ms Workman Phillips said the lifeguard then took over and did an examination of the child.

“The child was crying,” she said. “It was horrendous. It was a very traumatic scene. I’m just glad I knew what to do. I was delighted to hear that the child pulled through and was discharged from hospital.”

The Irish Heart Foundation runs a programme called ‘Hands for Life’ which teaches people how to perform CPR and Ms Workman Phillips is encouraging people to sign up to it. 

”The programme is free of charge,” she said. “I am also intending to do a CPR demonstration for parents in the community using mannequins.” 

Ms Workman Phillips is also encouraging parents to get their children involved in water safety programmes. 

Meanwhile, Simona Bârlescu told Northside People she was at the beach with her son when the incident occurred. 

“I was walking in same direction as Geraldine and Denise when I spotted the child in the water. The body was not moving. She was not doing anything with her arms and legs. I realised something was wrong. She was not good. There was white foam coming from her. I took her in my arms.”

Ms Barlescu handed the child to Ms Workman Phillips when she was informed she was a nurse.  

“I don’t have CPR training,” she said. “If Geraldine didn’t have CPR I would have panicked.

“I will definitely do a CPR course now – it could be the difference between life and death.”

A spokesperson for Fingal County Council confirmed that its lifeguards responded to the incident on Balbriggan beach. 

“They (lifeguards) treated a young child who was taken from the water at about 6pm,” said the spokesperson.

“The lifeguards tended to the child at the scene and she appeared to make a good recovery from her ordeal. The child was subsequently handed over to the ambulance service for further observation.

“The council would like to thank members of the public for their assistance and wish to commend the three lifeguards who were on duty for their swift and decisive actions in dealing with this serious incident."

The Balbriggan incident occurred just a day after a dramatic rescue on Portmarnock beach when four American men rescued a young girl from drowning after she was swept out to sea on a lilo.


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