Humans of the Mater

Zoë’s Story:

Zoë Kelly Patient Story

Zoë Kelly has been a Mater patient for over 13 years. During that time she’s been through some really tough battles. She is taking on the challenge of the Mater Foundation’s 100 Miles in a Month in Feb 2023, and her story, and that of her daughters, is a real inspiration.

“I live in Ennis, Co. Clare and have been a patient of the Mater Hospital since 2009 due to cardiac arrhythmias. Following my initial diagnosis, I had two successful cardiac ablation procedures at the hospital.

However, just over five years ago in October 2017 at the age of 36, I suffered a cardiac arrest at home in front of my children, who were aged 10 and 12 at the time. When I arrested, my eldest stayed with me and sent my youngest to get a neighbour’s help.

They started CPR and an ambulance was called. Initially, I was admitted to Limerick Regional Hospital and arrested again later that night. I was then transferred up to the Mater Hospital and had a dual lead ICD (Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator) implanted. Shortly after in the Coronary Care Unit my left lung collapsed, I remember feeling so frightened when I was told I would need an emergency chest tube.

Cardiothoracics were quickly in my room ready to put the tube in there and then. I started to panic as I was struggling to breathe and was so sore after the chest compressions and my ICD surgery. The team in the Mater were so reassuring, however, and one of the nurses held my hand while the surgeon put the chest tube in and was a massive comfort to me – I will never forget it!

The tube was attached to a suction tank to help my lung re-inflate, which took six days. I had daily physio to get me back on my feet and to help my lung heal. After six weeks I was back home.

I’m up to the Mater once or twice a year now for my checkups, where I also have my ICD checked. Both my daughters have since had Loop recorders fitted to monitor their hearts – despite me having gene negative CPVT (a cardiac condition that causes sudden disturbances in rhythm). It’s a huge reassurance to us that they are being monitored for any heart arrhythmias too.

I cannot sing the praises of the staff at the Mater highly enough. Everyone – the doctors, nurses, cleaners, caterers, porters – they all helped me get through that difficult time. The care I continue to receive there is second to none. I have a bedside monitor at home now that connects with my ICD wirelessly. Every 12 weeks it sends data direct to the Mater informing them how my device is working and reports any episodes I’ve had. Only last week I rang the ICD unit in the Mater after experiencing arrhythmia and they were able to look up the manual transmission I had sent them and confirm what I had. They were able to reassure me that my ICD was working!

I fundraise for the Hospital now and have even taken on a couple of their challenges with the Mater Foundation and would encourage anyone who can to do so. I just feel so grateful to be under the care of such a wonderful team at the Mater.”

Zoë, Ennis, Co Clare

You can find out more about out 100 Miles in a Month challenge and how to sign up here:

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