An Irishman suffering from severe breathing difficulties due to Covid-19 was “rescued” by an anti-vaccination activist from a Letterkenny town hospital, before reportedly being readmitted after his situation became more severe.
The ‘rescue,’ captured on film and originally published on Tuesday, showed a ‘Common Law’ activist, who goes by the name of Antonio, accompanied by the patient’s wife, escorting elderly Irishman Joe McCarron out of Letterkenny University Hospital, while accusing staff of attempting to kill the patients in their care.
“I’m taking my lovely friend Joe who they were trying to kill… I’m going to take my lovely friend home and we are walking home from the hospital and nobody is going to stop us,” declared the activist, who claimed he was “saving the lives of the people” and “operating under common and natural law.”
If you haven’t seen video, here it is. pic.twitter.com/1G6jk5FzpU
During the video, the activist told the Covid patient McCarron, “We saved your life today my friend… You feel good, out, come on my friend, otherwise they’re going to f***ing kill you,” and thanked former UCD School of Medicine Professor Dolores Cahill, an anti-vaccine activist who currently has a warrant out for her arrest in the UK. It is unclear what part, if any, Cahill had in the incident.
One hospital staffer could be heard telling the activist that what he was doing “is wrong and very dangerous,” and warned that McCarron – who was visibly unable to breathe or speak properly – that his life was in danger.
It’s a very difficult disease that you have and I’m not lying to you, you could die, but this would be your best chance at the hospital.
McCarron, however, was ultimately convinced to leave, with the activist telling him that the hospital was lying and would kill him if he stayed.
“It’s better if he die in the house than die here. He’s gonna die with us,” the activist declared as they left, adding that he would make more videos soon, showing his viewers how to “rescue” other patients from hospital.
Following the incident, McCarron was interviewed by the activist in his home, where he alleged that the hospital had not given him enough food and had sought to place him in a medically induced coma so he could go on a ventilator. He also thanked the anti-vaccination activists involved.
However, reports soon emerged that McCarron didn’t stay home for long. The Irish Times reported on Friday the man had been “readmitted to the hospital” in “serious condition.” Rumours of McCarron’s subsequent death started to spread on social media, but others who claimed to have knowledge of the situation said that McCarron was still alive and being cared-for in the hospital’s ICU.
“A lot of false info going around regarding the patient’s condition. Thankfully, he is still alive,” the Irish Times crime correspondent Conor Gallagher tweeted on Saturday.
A lot of false info going around regarding the patient’s condition. Thankfully, he is still alive https://t.co/lPr7TPzSNL
The hospital has refused to comment on the patient’s condition or his whereabouts to the media, citing confidentiality laws, but a group that oversees the hospital said it had “grave concerns” about similar incidents taking place.
“Hospitals across the region are under extreme pressure as a result of record levels of attendances of both Covid and non-Covid patients,” the Saolta Hospital Group said, adding that “deliberate spreading of disinformation” and “defamatory comments” were “adding significantly to the burden already facing healthcare professionals.”
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