Family joy as man with ‘locked in’ syndrome gets to go home

HSE to grant 24-hour care to Dundalk man after brain injury left him paralysed

David Garvey (33) has been in Beaumont Hospital for 15 months after a brain injury left him paralysed and only able to communicate using his eyes.  Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

David Garvey (33) has been in Beaumont Hospital for 15 months after a brain injury left him paralysed and only able to communicate using his eyes. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Tue, Apr 15, 2014, 00:11

The family of a man with ‘locked in’ syndrome has spoken of their joy at the HSE changing its mind and deciding to fund 24-hour care for him at his home.

David Garvey (33) has been in Beaumont Hospital for 15 months after a brain injury left him paralysed and only able to communicate using his eyes.

“We never thought we would get David home alive; we thought he would only come home in a coffin. This is unbelievable news for us,” said his sister Lynn tonight.

Mr Garvey has, with his family’s help, been writing letters to the HSE begging them to allow him return to his Dundalk home.

They needed the HSE to fund 24-hour nursing care for him and last week the family got the news they thought they would never come.

“We went to the Dáil last week to meet with local politicians and the national director of disability services with the HSE, Pat Healy, was there. They told us we had got the funding. It is unbelievable, it shows the HSE does listen,” said Lynn.

The news brought tears of joy to their parents Philip and Rose Garvey and relief that their campaigning had paid off.

The HSE will work with Beaumont Hospital to work out a step-down programme that will see Mr Garvey transferred to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, then to the Louth County Hospital in Dundalk and finally to his home on St Nicholas’s Avenue in Dundalk.

The family believes the mainstream and social media exposure they gave to their situation helped to influence the happy outcome.

Mr Garvey took to Facebook tonight to tell everyone the good news and to thank everyone for their support.

“I have been granted full funding to return home!! My surprise at the news, broke to me by my family, was a welcome one, one gladly appreciated.”

“I’d like to thanks firstly everyone one on this page for making my story public, and all your kind words, it means a lot.”

He thanked the deputies for Louth as well as Senator Mary Moran and the HSE “for making this happen.”

Lynn said they had been overwhelmed by the offers of support and help from some of the thousands of people who have followed their fight to give David as normal a life as possible.

“To us this is like winning the lottery and David and his fiancé Bernadette can now continue with their wedding plans,” Lynn said.