The family of a Covid-19 patient who was removed from a Co Donegal hospital have slammed those who took him from the facility.
Joe McCarron was removed from Letterkenny University Hospital on Tuesday last by people who claimed he was being forced into the Intensive Care Unit.
However, he was rushed back into the hospital on Thursday morning by ambulance where doctors are now battling to keep him alive.
A spokesperson for Mr McCarron’s family have now apologised to the staff at the hospital.
The spokesperson revealed that Mr McCarron, from Dungloe, Co Donegal is on a ventilator and showing good signs of a possible recovery.
They have also slammed the actions of those who encouraged Joe to leave the hospital.
The spokesperson for the family said; “I have been asked by Una (Joe’s wife) to give you all an update on Joe.
“He’s still in ICU under the care and attention of the excellent staff at Letterkenny University Hospital.
“Joe is still in a critical but stable condition. He has serious lung damage from Covid-19 and is on a ventilator but the signs are good.
“Una would like to thank the staff and apologise for the actions of Joe’s so-called reckless friends earlier in the week.
“They did not help Joe’s recovery in any way. We would encourage everyone to follow proper medical advice.”
The spokesperson said Una would also like to thank everyone for their prayers and messages of support at this time.
The removal of Mr McCarron from the hospital was filmed and put on social media, going viral across the country and around the world.
It was carried out by people acting on behalf of the patient and claiming to act under Common Law.
In the video, Mr McCarron is seen being taken from the hospital amidst claims that he was being forced into the Intensive Care Unit by hospital staff.
Doctors plead with Joe to remain in the hospital reassuring him he is in a better place and plead with him to allow them to help him.
However, those taking him from the hospital say they are “rescuing” him and that it is better that he die at home than in the hospital.
The man, understood to be an Italian national, is heard saying; "We are saving lives and we are going to save more."
"We came to Letterkenny to rescue my friend because they were trying to kill him.
"We are walking home from the hospital and nobody is going to stop us. We are going home. We are saving the lives of the people"
The man claims he is operating under common or natural law.
The man claims they are going to get more people out of hospital claiming "they are killing people without consent."
Mr McCarron, who was accompanied by his wife, is heard explaining to doctors how he felt better on Wednesday morning but was told he must enter the Intensive Care Unit.
However, hospital staff are heard explaining to him how the Covid virus strikes in peaks and troughs.
An unidentified doctor pleads with Mr McCarron to stay in the care of the hospital.
The man, understood to be a consultant at the hospital, tells the patient that what is happening is wrong.
"It is endangering your life by doing that. You have the right to decide what you want to do.
"I don't think what he is saying is right at all. You are barely able to breathe there now. We want you to stay to help you," he says in the video.
However, the man trying to remove the patient from the hospital interrupts and says "If you stay here they are going to f******** kill you."
The consultant again tries to plead with Mr McCarron saying; "I want to help you and I want you to stay. I think he is saying something very dangerous. What he is saying is very wrong and very dangerous and I think he is endangering your life.
"It's a very difficult decision you have. I'm not lying to you that you could die but your best chance is in the hospital and getting oxygen and getting the support we are giving to you."
The man accompanying Mr McCarron then claims the hospital staff are lying to him and says this is his last chance to get home.
The consultant then pleads with Mr McCarron’s wife to stay in the hospital.
The patient said he was told that he was improving but had to go to ICU and says; "There is mixed messages all across..."
Security at the hospital has been heightened after Gardai confirmed they were twice called to the facility in recent days following incidents involving anti-vaccine protesters.
Gardaí have confirmed they were called to two incidents following reports of disturbances at the medical facility on Tuesday, September 14 and Thursday, September 16.
There are also concerns that staff at the hospital are being harassed and abused by protesters in the grounds of the hospital including the car parks.
It is understood some staff have contacted the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) about the incidents.
The Saolta Hospital Group, which oversees the running of Letterkenny University Hospital and other hospitals throughout the country, declined to comment on claims that staff are being harassed.
However, a Saolta spokesperson said earlier this week that they are aware of two incidents where groups have spread dis-information at its hospital sites.
The spokesperson said; "Saolta has grave concerns about the impact of this type of activity on both patients and staff.
"Patient safety and care is of paramount importance to the group. Hospitals across the region are under extreme pressure as a result of record levels of attendances of both Covid and non-Covid patients.
"The deliberate spreading of dis-information 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."