The Air Ambulance was operating for just over a month when it was tasked to an incident involving a cow in Co Limerick.
In August 2019, Noelle O’Brien was with her friend, Aoife Mai, bringing their children for a walk in a field when a recently calved cow attacked her.
Noelle’s infant son Paudie, who was four-months-old at the time, was harnessed to her.
The cow butted her several times, hit her from behind and knocked her to the ground.
She managed to get her 1-year-old son, Ollie, and daughter Andie (3), to safety.
The Limerick native eventually fended off the cow by slamming an electric fence wire on her head.
Surgery and recovery
The Irish Community Air Ambulance was with her within twenty minutes, and her care began from the “second that they landed”.
Noelle had seven broken ribs and had severe internal bleeding; she underwent life-saving surgery at the Mercy Hospital, Cork and was in recovery for one year.
She explained that “no one else in the field was injured except me”. “As a mum, you think thank God it was you and not your kids.”
In a video on Facebook entitled Galbally Community, she explained: “The cow attacked me because she had a newborn calf.”
“The calf was only two or three days old. We were heading directly for her. There was a pile of rushes, and the calf was nestled in there. The calf was protecting her young.”
“I think the dog triggered everything. Everyone is always wary of bulls. Coming from a farming background, I knew something was wrong, and I think that is what saved everyone that day, as well as the Air Ambulance acting so quickly.”
Her friend – who witnessed the incident – recalled what she remembers during a recent episode of Ear to the Ground on RTÉ 1 on Thursday, December 23rd, 2021.
“I remember a cow bawling loudly. I remember Noelle screaming and being on the ground. Also, I remember pulling kids and running. I remember being scared and knowing that we needed to get the kids safe.”
The Air Ambulance
Noelle continued: “Everyone should know about the Air Ambulance because it is so important to keep it in the skies. They were only operating four weeks before I was in the air.”
She said the crew of the Air Ambulance “saved her life; they stabilised her and kept her calm despite it all”.
This December, Noelle returned to the base for the first time with her three children and Aoife.
They met the crew, including an advanced paramedic, James Ward, who treated Noelle on that day in 2019.
Farm Family Draw
Two Irish charities, Irish Community Air Ambulance and Embrace FARM, have teamed up to launch the Farm Family Draw.
The partnership aims to ensure that farm families receive the support they require when needed most, during and after serious incidents.
All funds raised as part of the monthly membership draw will be split evenly between the two charities. The top prize is €1,000 each month.