Man granted ‘dying wish’ by being airlifted home to Donegal

Patrick Diver was from Donegal, but was receiving palliative care in Galway

Patrick Diver with the Defence Forces helicopter, which airlifted him to Donegal on humanitarian grounds

Patrick Diver with the Defence Forces helicopter, which airlifted him to Donegal on humanitarian grounds

 

A dying man was granted his last wish when he was airlifted from Galway to Donegal so he could spend his last days in his beloved county.

Patrick Diver, known as Pat, rarely left Co Donegal and had never been on a plane.

The 66-year-old was referred to palliative care in Galway University Hospital, but became very unwell, and his family was advised that his condition had deteriorated significantly.

His wish was to return home to Donegal but his condition was very weak which made travelling difficult.

Donegal Hospice, the National Ambulance Service (NAS) and the Defence Forces teamed up so Mr Diver’s wishes could be fulfilled.

The hospice gave him an urgent bed and the NAS was contacted to help with transportation.

When they realised travelling by ambulance was not an option, they contacted the Defence Forces helicopter service, which agreed to airlift the patient home on humanitarian grounds.

Mr Diver’s family said his relief when he was told he was returning home was palpable and visible.

He brightened up and spent those final days before he died with his family around him last month in his beloved Donegal, they said.

Donegal Hospice palliative care services have been in operation since 2003.

Palliative care is care given to improve the quality of life of patients who have serious or life-limiting conditions.

This means a condition, illness or disease which is progressive and cannot be cured.

The Donegal Hospice service compromises of a dedicated eight-bed in-patient unit based in Knocknamona, Letterkenny, Co Donegal.

In 2020, Donegal palliative care provided specialist support to more than 3,915 people in their homes.

In addition, 149 patients were admitted to its inpatient units for symptom management and end-of-life care.