Northern Ireland news

Man who left Donegal hospital with anti-vaccine protestors dies weeks later

Joe McCarron from Co Donegal
Mairead Holland

A DONEGAL man with Covid-19 who was encouraged to leave hospital last week by anti-vaccination campaigners, has died.

Joe McCarron passed away at Letterkenny University Hospital on Friday, after being readmitted.

The 75-year-old, from Dungloe, made the headlines a few weeks ago in a video which went viral on social media.

It was filmed by a group of protesters who had secured his release from hospital.

In the video, doctors can be heard pleading with Mr McCarron to remain.

However, the protestors tell him he will die if he stays in the hospital.

They claimed Mr McCarron was being forced into the Intensive Care Unit.

Mr McCarron was released but was taken back into hospital two days later after having severe breathing difficulties, The Irish Times has reported.

He was initially put on a ventilator and had been showing signs of improving.

However, his condition deteriorated and he died on Friday.

Mr McCarron’s family had criticised those who helped to take him out of the hospital.

Following his readmittance, a family spokesman said Mr McCarron’s wife Una wanted to apologise to the hospital staff for what had happened and branded those who had helped remove him from hospital as “reckless”.

“They did not help Joe’s recovery in any way. We would encourage everyone to follow proper medical advice,” he said.

Earlier this month, Antrim and Newtownabbey DUP councillor Paul Hamill also died from the virus.

The 46-year-old, father-of-two is reported to have been heavily influenced by Covid sceptics.

It emerged that in the months leading up to his death, he had retweeted many articles and posts from vaccine and lockdown sceptics.

His death prompted virologist Dr Conall McCaughey to urge vaccine sceptics to "reassess their attitudes".

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