Northern Ireland

Charity boxer Sean McLaughlin resuscitated twice

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Media captionSean McLaughlin said he would not be alive if a vital piece of equipment had not been on site.

"I've been told I was dead for five to seven minutes," said Sean McLaughlin.

There is still a note of disbelief in his voice as he speaks from his hospital bed two days after collapsing in a boxing ring.

The 44-year-old Killough-based businessman was walking back to his corner during a charity match in Ardglass on Saturday night when he keeled over.

He had been floored, not by his opponent, but by his own heart; he had suffered a cardiac arrest.

He owes his life to the quick actions of first aiders, the availability of a defibrillator and the skills of a cardiac nurse who just happened to be in the audience.

"At the end of the second round, I said to the guy who was in my corner, 'I just don't feel well here at all'. And I just remember my legs going and seeing the white on the roof. And that was it. The next thing I remember is in the ambulance going to the Royal," he said.

A lot, however, had happened in between.


Four volunteers from the Order of Malta, who had been on duty at the event, were first to his side.

Watching among the crowd was Roisin Dorrian, a cardiac nurse at Downe Hospital.

"I had just arrived about five minutes before the event," she said.

"I was there as a spectator to help raise funds for our football club.

"I noticed the boxer going to the side of the ring. I thought he had fainted and the Order of Malta first-aiders went into the ring to attend to him. But I soon realised that they had started CPR. My nursing training kicked in. I jumped into the ring and called for a defibrillator."

Roisin used the defibrillator to restart Sean's heart, while hundreds of stunned spectators looked on.

Image caption Roisin Dorrian said she was "very proud" of what she had been able to do

"The room was full," said Sean.


"There was three to four hundred people there. Whenever they found out how serious it was, the room was cleared. But apparently there were grown men standing crying their eyes out because the word was I was dead. But then Roisin brought me back."

Roisin admits that the already stressful business of treating somebody in such a critical, life-or-death, situation was made even more difficult as the hundreds of spectators looked to perform a virtual miracle.

And she did.

"I'm very proud of what I was able to do," said Roisin.

"And it has been lovely as Sean has since contacted me and thanked me personally for being his guardian angel that night.

"Your adrenalin takes over. I was as nervous as anybody that night, but I just knew I had to help and away I went."

Sean now faces surgery and a lengthy stay in hospital, but he is in no doubt that he is a very lucky man.

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