Devoted Irish dad left fighting for his life after suffering from brain injury during US work trip
A devoted Irish dad was left fighting for his life after he suffered a brain injury during a work trip in the US last week.
Rob Laffan (40) was at a work conference in Minneapolis on Friday when he collapsed suddenly and hit his head, causing serious head injuries - including a fractured skull and bleeding to the brain.
His worried friends and family have now organised fundraisers to help Rob and his wife Emily, who are from Fairgreen in Limerick City.
Local Councillor Daniel Butler told Independent.ie how the frightening incident happened.
The Fine Gael representative said: "Rob was over in the US for the Close The Gap conference as he was advertising his Tippy Talk product, which was inspired by his daughter Sadie (6).
"Sadie has autism and has difficulty communication so Rob invented this touch screen device to help Sadie and other people who are non-verbal, such as people with autism or those who have suffered from strokes to express themselves.
"He was at the conference on Friday when he fainted and collapsed and he fell he fractured his skull.
"He was speaking to Emily that night but then things got worse when doctors identified two bleeds on his brain."
Rob's condition rapidly deteriorated and he remained in the Intensive Care Unit over the weekend.
Emily flew to be by Rob's side, while Sadie and her older daughter Megan have remained in Ireland with relatives.
Although Rob is now conscious, the couple's friend Linda Daly said that he may have a long recovery.
she told Independent.ie: "As far as I am aware he will have more MRIs carried out and his doctors are concerned that he may suffer seizures as a result of his fall.
"Emily has seen an x-ray of his skull and there was a big crack going straight across the front of it."
Cllr Butler added: "He is awake but he is in quite a confused state, which is to be expected with that kind of injury and his doctors have said that he won't be able fly home for at least a month."
Rob's friends and family have established an online fundraiser to help raise money to cover Rob's medical costs and to help support the family through their ordeal.
Cllr Butler explained: "We are all anxious to help spread the word, medical bills in the US are notoriously expensive and obviously Emily will need to be over there with him for a while, it's a long road ahead.
"The response from the public has been really good so far and it shows that Rob is a really popular man, everyone in the area seems to know him and he has a large group of friends, he is very well-liked.
"He is a family man and adores his daughters and Emily."
Linda agreed that there has been a generous response to the fundraiser.
She said: "Rob and Emily are such a nice couple, Rob is a lovely guy, you couldn't not like him."