Shot Irish man recovering slowly in South African hospital

Bill Brogan (68) discovered unconscious by wife and son in doorway following shooting

The bullet which entered Bill Brogan’s face below his left eye shattered the cheek bone, breached his brain and remains lodged in the skull. Photograph: The Irish Times

The bullet which entered Bill Brogan’s face below his left eye shattered the cheek bone, breached his brain and remains lodged in the skull. Photograph: The Irish Times

 

An Irish man living in South Africa since the 1980s who was shot two weeks ago as he left home for work was planning to retire to Ireland soon with his wife.

Bill Brogan (68) suffered a head wound as he left home early in the morning and remains in a serious but stable condition in Johannesburg’s Netcare Union Hospital. He is being treated for the life-threatening injuries he suffered during a robbery in Walkerville, a rural town about 30 minutes south of Johannesburg in Gauteng Province.

Mr Brogan, who is of Irish extraction with a grandfather from Cork, left for work at 6.30am on July 6th last. He was found by his Irish wife Mary and son Conor slumped unconscious in the doorway of his home at 8am.

It is understood he was attacked and robbed by three men, one of whom shot him in the face. While he passed out following the attack, Mr Brogan regained consciousness and managed to make his way back to the doorway of his home.

The victim’s son-in-law, Denis Kaye, told The Irish Times that while Mr Brogan’s condition remained very serious, doctors were happy with the progress he has made following the operations that have been performed to date.

Brain injury

But the bullet, which entered Mr Brogan’s face below his left eye, shattered his cheek bone, breached his brain and remains lodged in his skull.

“The doctors are impressed with Bill’s recovery so far and he is slowly improving,” said Mr Kaye. “He is able to wiggle his toes to answer questions and communicate. And is in a stable condition. But he needs to have more surgery and at this stage we don’t know if the bullet can be removed.”

Due to the nature of Mr Brogan’s injuries he cannot be repatriated to Ireland by aircraft. Mr Kaye said the family now fear if the bullet is not removed he may never be able to retire to Ireland.

Furthermore, Mr Brogan does not have health insurance to cover his medical care. The initial medical costs have already been estimated at about €70,000 and this figure does not include what is needed to pay for his future rehabilitation.

However, family members and strangers have, via online fundraising platform GoFundMe and other activities, managed to raise more than €20,000 to help pay medical bills.

According to Mr Kaye, the South African Police Services have launched an investigation but no arrests have been made so far, nor are there any suspects. They believe Mr Brogan, who worked as a commercial security contractor, saw his attackers’ faces, but he is not yet well enough to be questioned by police.