Ryan returns to Our Lady's Secondary School, Castleblayney

The staff and students of Our Lady’s Secondary School, Castleblayney, Co. Monaghan and indeed of the wider community were delighted to welcome back to school, 5th year student Ryan Callan after a life-threatening incident.

Ryan, a prefect in the school and son of Shelagh & Declan Callan, Broomfield, became the toast of family and friends as he returned to school just over 3 weeks after this serious incident.

On Mon 10th March during a PE class Ryan collapsed suddenly and went into sudden cardiac arrest. PE teacher, Mr Enda Tourish immediately proceeded to administer CPR to Ryan while the Emergency Services and his family were contacted.

One of the 3 defibrillators at the school was brought to the scene as Tony Graham, SNA at the school, stepped in to help Mr Tourish, as did a number of Ryan’s friends who were on the scene.

As the Emergency Services arrived, the Critical Incident Plan at the school was being put into action.

Over the following days Ryan was in everybody’s thoughts and prayers with his year group attending Mass in St Mary’s to offer up prayers for his recovery.

Ryan’s condition was critical and there were real concerns about his chances of survival, as the chances of surviving a sudden cardiac arrest outside of a hospital environment are as low as 10-15%.

So it was with great relief and to the delight of all, especially his friends that word started to filter through that Ryan was on the mend.

Ryan’s medical team at Crumlin Hospital were astounded at the speed and extent of his recovery and have given full credit for this to the speed of Mr Tourish’s reaction and the quality of the CPR administered by him.

This incident brought home to all the need to create awareness around the issue of CPR and to highlight the importance of immediate action and intervention.

Shelagh, Ryan’s mother has said “We have spoken to the Principal of Our Lady’s, Mr Gerard McGuill and have conveyed to him and to all the staff and students, our sincere and heartfelt thanks for all their help, support and kindness in what has been a very traumatic time for all of us.

While each and every one of the people on the scene was outstanding in their contributions, it would be remiss of me not to single out PE teacher, Mr Enda Tourish for mention.

He was the immediate person on the scene, his quick thinking and reaction made a huge contribution to Ryan’s recovery and the doctors have left us in no doubt about that! Because of the professional quality of the CPR administered not only did Enda Tourish save his life but he also prevented long term damage & facilitated the speedy recovery which Ryan has made.

We want to highlight the importance of having a working knowledge of CPR and the critical need for an immediate response. This was so important for Ryan but this could be anybody’s son or daughter or family member.”

Shelagh also commended the ambulance crew for the speed of their response and their kindness to her.

Principal of Our Lady’s, Mr Gerard McGuill spoke of the happiness of the entire school community in welcoming Ryan back.

“It was a traumatic incident and a worrying few days for staff & students but we now have the best possible outcome seeing Ryan return to school. I commend Mr Tourish & Tony Graham for their swift response without which the outcome may not have been as positive. I also want to praise the students who were on the scene for their care and assistance and to thank the teaching & support staff whose reactions in supporting Ryan’s family, the students and each other were outstanding. At a very difficult time the true meaning of school as a community was present in Our Lady’s. Here in Our Lady’s we have long been aware of the importance of Emergency Response training and a large number of our staff have received this training, a practice which will most certainly continue into the future”.