‘A moment where minutes mattered’: 17-year-old St. James High School student gives dad CPR, saves his life

Grand Strand

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — A St. James High School student is being looked at as a hero after saving his father’s life.

Patrick Gallagher, 17, of Murrells Inlet, said the experience is something he never expected to go through.

“I’m close to my dad, so I was freaking out that I was, like, gonna lose him out of nowhere,” he said.

Patrick and his dad, Pat, were playing video games when Pat suddenly went into cardiac arrest.  

“One second he was there, and then the next time I looked over and he just didn’t seem like he was there,” Patrick said.

Followed by a state of shock and panic, Patrick immediately called 911. After checking for a pulse, he started giving his father CPR and continued until paramedics arrived.

“There was no preparation for it, and I had always thought it would never happen to someone like me,” Patrick said. “Then, I was in a moment where minutes mattered and it was happening to me.”

Pat spent nearly a week in the ICU hooked up to a defibrillator. He also battled COVID-19. Doctors said if Patrick hadn’t acted as quickly as he did, his father would not be alive today.

“Of course, it’s amazing,” Pat said. “I didn’t think he would actually be able to do something like that. I’m glad he was. He’s definitely a hero to me.”

The family currently has a GoFundMe set up to help with medical expenses. They say coming up with the money may be stressful, support is already pouring in from family and friends.

“I’d rather have that stress than the stress of him not being here,” Patrick said. “It’s very good to see the support. I know that makes him feel a lot better about things.”

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