Young Belfast woman's life saved by fellow airport passenger after sudden heart attack

Caitlin Woods' heart stopped for over eight minutes when she collapsed outside Belfast International Airport.

The 24-year-old from west Belfast was en route to Liverpool for a city break with her partner, Macy.

Macy had an engagement ring in her bag - this was meant to be their proposal story.

Instead, the young couple didn't even make airport arrivals after Caitlin collapsed at the drop-off zone.

It soon became clear this wasn't a faint, but a sudden cardiac arrest.

As luck would have it, Karen Cochrane, a nurse who was travelling that day to visit friends, saw it all unfold.

Her daughter, Hannah, alerted her that a young woman had collapsed and Karen rushed to her aid.

"I was maintaining the airway and giving mouth to mouth and one of the staff from Belfast International was doing the compressions and his colleague was counting down," Karen told UTV.

"You just keep going and keep focused but time is pressure and seeing the ambulance service was such a relief."

Both land and air ambulances quickly arrived at the scene and Caitlin was put into an induced coma.

Karen paid tribute to both ambulance staff and the quick actions of the Belfast International employees who worked as a team to save Caitlin.

Caitlin had a series of mini heart attacks over the next 72 hours and was transferred from Antrim Area hospital to the Royal Victoria in Belfast.

The nursery school worker can't remember anything from that day due to the trauma of what happened both physically and mentally.

When she finally came around, doctors told Caitlin that if the woman who intervened at Belfast International Airport wasn't there, she could have died, as the CPR was perfectly administered.

Caitlin, teary eyed and overwhelmed with emotion, told UTV that she thanked Karen for saving her life and that she wouldn't be here today without her.

Karen, while humbled that she was able to help, credits everyone involved that day and those who have trained her in first aid.

Caitlin has undergone a series of tests and it was determined her heart was the issue, rather than a bleed in the brain.

She is now waiting on the results of genetic testing. Until then, a temporary pacemaker has been fitted to ensure Caitlin's heart doesn't stop again.

While off work recovering, her partner Macy finally got the chance to propose and the two are now engaged and planning their future together.

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