HSE agrees to fund home care for man with 'locked-in' syndrome

David with family

A Louth man with "locked-in" syndrome is set to be discharged from hospital after the HSE agreed to fund care for him in his home.

David Garvey, 33, has been having treatment at Beaumont hospital for a brain injury which left him paralysed 15 months ago.

His case came to public attention after he wrote to the HSE last month, pleading to be allowed to go home to Dundalk.

His request was denied at that stage.

The cost of nursing David at home every year would be more than €400,000, but his sister Lynn Flood said this was less than it would cost to keep David in hospital.

David's family met politicians and HSE officials in the Dáil last week to be told the plan had changed.

His sister Lynn described the announcement as "unbelievable news".

On his facebook page, David writes: "I have been granted full funding to return home!! My surprise at the news, broke to me by my family, was a welcome one, one gladly appreciated.... it will be a while before I get home, their is still some HSE protocol to meet before I get back to my own house, but thankfully its something to forward to...(there is an end in sight)

"I'd like to firstly thank everyone one on this page for making my story public, and all your kind words, it means a lot...And of course my family, friends and their friends who never gave up in their pursuit for my wellbeing and happiness."

David Garvey's letter to the health authorities:

Knowing I can’t leave hospital like a normal human being the way I entered it is heartbreaking, having no decision making in my life is hard.

Can I ask you all a favour? Please.

Can you please close your eyes and imagine lying in bed not being able to move a muscle and being hooked up to a life support machine.

Imagine when you open your eyes the first thing you see is a ceiling, and you will see that same ceiling for the next few hours until a nurse comes and move your head.

When your head gets moved, your next view is a wall with a mirror and sink.

Believe me, this will be the highlight of your day until your family comes at 3pm to visit.

Now, imagine you have an itch and you can’t move to scratch the itch and you can’t tell anybody because you can’t talk!

You can’t even wipe your eyes if they get sore or dry, can’t move your legs if you get a cramp, you just have to put up with the pain.

Spirits

Your family will try to keep your spirits up and try to make you laugh. They will read the paper and tell jokes and tell you about their day.

That’s the hardest part. Knowing that you are not part of the family anymore.

When they leave, you try and not let them see how upset and miserable you are.

That’s when your tears will come. You can’t even wipe your eyes until a nurse comes and does that for you.

I JUST WANT TO GO HOME. PLEASE DON’T SAY NO. PLEASE.

Please let me go back to my family for somewhat of a normal life.

Let me plan my wedding. Let me have happiness.

Let me be able to make decisions about my life just like everyone else can in theirs.

I never asked for this to happen to me but it has and I have to accept this. It’s extremely hard but I am a tough cookie.

It won’t beat me.

Thank you for reading this letter.

If I could I would cross my fingers and toes for a good answer. I would cross everything.

- DAVID

KEYWORDS: David Garvey
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