A man suffering severe Covid-19 symptoms who left Letterkenny Hospital after being encouraged to do so by a number of anti-vaxxer campaigners has been readmitted to the hospital and is in a serious condition.
The Donegal man was the subject of a viral video earlier in the week during which a group of people insisted that he be released from hospital, despite medical staff stating this would worsen his condition.
In the video, one activist said he was “rescuing” the man, and falsely claimed that treatment in the hospital would “kill” the patient.
One staff member told the man that leaving the hospital would risk “endangering” his 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,” the staff member told the patient.
“It’s better that he die in the house than he dies here,” the activist responded.
Stuggling to breathe
The patient, who appears to be struggling to breathe in the footage, agrees to leave the hospital and return home. He later appeared in a video posted to social media on Wednesday saying that he felt much better and accused the hospital of mistreating him.
Early on Thursday morning the man reported severe breathing difficulties and an ambulance was called. He was returned to Letterkenny Hospital where he remains in an “extremely serious condition”, a well-placed source said. It is understood he has been placed on a ventilator.
In a statement, a spokeswoman for Saolta Hospital Group (SHG) which oversees Letterkenny Hospital, said it could not comment on individual cases, citing its legal and ethical obligations regarding patient confidentiality.
The group has previously said it is “gravely concerned” by a number of recent incidents in which groups of activists have attempted to spread disinformation about Covid-19 at hospitals.
The spokeswoman said it had “grave concerns about the impact of this type of activity on both patients and staff”.
“The deliberate spreading of disinformation and at times defamatory comments against named staff members along with the posting of these videos on social media platforms is adding significantly to the burden already facing healthcare professionals,” she said.
On Friday, a further 1,392 new cases of Covid-19 were reported in the State. As of 8am on Friday, there were 288 Covid-19 patients in hospitals in the Republic, with 73 of those in intensive care.
In Northern Ireland, 10 further deaths of patients who had tested positive for Covid-19 were reported on Friday, and there were 1,239 new confirmed cases.