A Covid-hit Irish pensioner was ‘rescued’ from a hospital by an Italian anti-vaxxer – only for him to die of the disease days later.
Covid patient Joe McCarron, 67, from Dungloe, County Donegal, was encouraged to leave Letterkenny University Hospital by his anti-vaxxer ‘friends’ on Tuesday, September 14.
However, he was rushed back into hospital by ambulance less than two days later, suffering from serious breathing difficulties, and died a week later on September 24.
In a video that was widely-shared online, Joe is seen visibly struggling to breathe as his anti-vaxxer ‘friend’ Italian Antonio Mureddu argues with doctors before taking him home from the hospital.
Irish Covid patient Joe McCarron, 67, (pictured) was encouraged to leave Letterkenny University Hospital in Donegal by his anti-vaxxer ‘friends’ on September 14
Antonio, a restaurant owner and former Italian soldier, claimed that Joe was being forced into the intensive care unit and that they were ‘rescuing’ him as the treatment would kill him.
He is heard in the clip saying: ‘If you stay here, they’re going to f****** kill you, Joe.’
The video, filmed by Antonio and later posted on Twitter, shows the tense interaction between the Joe and medical staff before he leaves hospital, with staff warning him that he could die at home.
One unidentified doctor is seen on camera leaning down to talk to Joe, who is sitting in a wheelchair breathing heavily, pleading with him that leaving the hospital would risk ‘endangering’ his life.
The doctor says: ‘You have the right to decide what you want to do, but I don’t think what he [Antonio] is saying is right at all.
‘You’re barely able to breathe now. We want you to stay to help you.’
In a video, Joe is seen struggling to breathe as his anti-vaxxer ‘friend’ Italian Antonio Mureddu (pictured) argued with medical staff, telling Joe if he stayed the doctors would ‘f****** kill you’
Antonio interjects saying: ‘If you stay here, they’re going to f****** kill you, Joe,’ and accuses the medical staff of ‘killing people’.
The doctor continues speaking to Joe, saying: ‘I’m very worried about you. I want you to stay [in hospital].
‘I think he is saying something very dangerous. What he is saying is wrong and very dangerous and I think he is endangering your life.
‘It’s a very difficult disease that you have, and I’m not lying to you, you could die, but this could be your best chance in the hospital. Getting the oxygen and getting the support we’re giving to you.’
However, Antonio rebuts the medics, claiming that they are ‘lying’, saying: ‘It’s better if he dies in the house than die in here… he’s going to die with us.’
One unidentified doctor is seen on camera leaning down to talk to Joe, who is sitting in a wheelchair, pleading with him that leaving the hospital would risk ‘endangering’ his life
The doctor (pictured right) says: ‘It’s a very difficult disease that you have, and I’m not lying to you, you could die, but this could be your best chance in the hospital’
Joe, who was a former radio DJ, then left the hospital and returned home, where his condition worsened.
Antonio carried out the ‘rescue’ with assistance from members of the Common Law Information Centre and in one video published after Joe had left the hospital, he claimed that it was Joe who had requested his assistance.
Following Joe’s readmission to Letterkenny University Hospital on Thursday morning, his wife of 38 years, Una, issued a family statement critisising the actions of his ‘reckless’ friends.
The statement said: ‘Una would like to thank the staff and apologise for the actions of Joe’s so-called reckless friends earlier in the week.
‘They did not help Joe’s recovery in any way. We would encourage everyone to follow proper medical advice.’
Joe left the hospital but was rushed back by ambulance less than two days later, suffering from serious breathing difficulties, and died a week later on September 24
Joe was put on a ventilator and he died in hospital on Friday without regaining consciousness.
His funeral was held on Sunday, September 26, at his local parish of St Crona’s Church in Dungloe.
According to the Irish Mirror, during the service at least five people were asked to leave the church by a parish assistant because they were not wearing face masks in line with Government Covid regulations.
A senior police officer has now been appointed to lead an investigation into the incident at the hospital, a Garda spokeswoman confirmed on Sunday.
A statement said: ‘An Garda Síochána continues to investigate a number of recent incidents which occurred at Letterkenny University Hospital.
‘A senior investigating officer is appointed to oversee the investigation.’