Sister of man with locked-in syndrome appeals for funds to bring him home

Lynn Flood (picture from facebook)

The sister of a man with locked-in syndrome has said she is "begging" anyone who can help to come forward and get her brother out of hospital.

Thirty-three-year-old David Garvey from Dundalk in Co Louth has been in Beaumont Hospital for the last 14 months.

He has written a letter pleading with the HSE to allow him to go home.

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

Lynn says he is facing a greater risk to his health by staying in hospital, and that he does not need to be there any more.

"It's heartbreaking watching David in the hospital," she said. "When we leave we know that because the hospital can't do anything for him, David should be coming home with us.

"They don’t have to wipe David's tears away. They are not listening to David, asking to go home every day. He spells out on the alphabet chart 'When can I go home? Just let me go home'

"That's heartbreaking for us - all we want is to bring him home."

David had three strokes and a brain hemorrhage during a trip away in 2002.

Lynn told the Irish Mirror that she believed David's life expectancy would be significantly extended if he came home.

“We spoke to a professor in respirology and he said David could die in months if he doesn’t come home, because of all the different patients and infections and bugs," she said.

“If he came home, he would have five, maybe 10 years."

Using eye movements, David spent a week working on composing his letter to the HSE.

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 not 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 wipes 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.


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.


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.


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