LIVE SAVERS: Fr Kieran O’Brien, Mabel Counihan (KCRU), Denny Murphy, Bridget Delaney (KCRU) and Martin Grady who helped save the life of an American man in St Mary’s Cathedral recently. Photo: Michelle Crean


By Michelle Crean


The life of an American doctor who suffered a major heart attack in St Mary’s Cathedral was saved thanks to the heroic efforts of locals who raced to his aid.


Dr Patrick Brosnan from Austin, Texas was visiting Kerry relatives when shocked 10.30am Massgoers heard him loudly gasp as he collapsed in the church on October 13.


Locals raced to save him while Fr Kieran O’Brien asked the congregation to pray for the man and his helpers.

Denny Murphy from Whitebridge Manor had been sitting behind the man and jumped in to help, followed by Dr Brian McCullagh, a surgeon in the Mater Hospital who was home to Killarney for a few days.

Anne Carroll from the Killarney Cardiac Response Unit (KCRU) also happened to be at the Mass that morning as was Martin Grady who also came to his aid.

Two rounds of CPR were performed while Fr Kieran anointed Dr Brosnan as he was moments from death.

Killarney Cardiac First Responders Mabel Counihan and Bridget Delaney rushed to the church while Anne Lucey ran out for the defibrillator across at O’Shea’s Funeral Home.


“I heard a loud gasp and a fall as someone shouted out for medical assistance,” Fr Kieran told the Killarney Advertiser.

“As they worked on him I said we’d have no sermon, just prayers for him.”

Dr Brian McCullagh appeared on the scene at the most critical point, Denny Murphy explained.

“Both Brian and Martin were instrumental in saving that man’s life,” Denny said.

Using the defibrillator, the man was shocked back to life, before being taken away in an ambulance to University Hospital Kerry where he stayed for 10 days before undergoing a quadruple bypass in University Hospital Cork. He has since made a full recovery and after being released from hospital this week is planning to return home to America.


“I am grateful to have received both first responder training and CPR training through Kerry Fire Service,” Martin said.

“These courses once completed are not just for the job you’re in but skills you will have for life. I would have to plea to people to avail of such courses whether they’re being run at work or community based. As I learned through my role in the fire service you just don’t know where or when you may use those skills.”