A MAN who was convinced to leave a hospital where he was being treated for severe Covid-19 has been laid to rest in Donegal after he died from the disease.
Joe McCarron. 67, was taken from Letterkenny University Hospital earlier this month after being encouraged to leave by Covid deniers who claimed he would 'die' if he stayed in hospital.
A video of the incident, shared widely across Ireland and beyond, showed a visibly ill Mr McCarron, who was struggling to breathe, be encouraged by a man to leave the hospital and go home.
A doctor at the hospital told Mr McCarron that the man trying to convince him to leave the hospital was putting his life at risk, and said if he left the hospital to go home he would die.
The unidentified doctor told him "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."
The man recording the incident, who was trying to convince the ill man to leave with him, said it would be better to die at home than in the hospital.
He claimed he was "rescuing" him, and told Mr McCarron "If you stay here they are going to f***ing kill you."
Eventually Mr McCarron, who had fallen prey to conspiracy theories online, did decide to leave, but within days was rushed back to hospital and placed on a ventilator in a critical condition.
His family condemned the Covid deniers who encouraged the ill man to leave, with his wife, Una, apologising to staff at the hospital for "the actions of Joe's so-called reckless friends".
Sadly, despite returning to hospital Mr McCarron became gravely ill, and died from Covid-19 on Friday.
He was laid to rest in his hometown of Dungloe yesterday afternoon, with local priest Fr Gallagher calling on the congregation to "remember Joe and to honour his memory".
Extra.ie reports that prayers were said for the popular former DJ, with prayers also offered for the staff at Letterkenny University Hospital.
Fr Gallagher acknowledged that "life can be a bumpy road" and while Joe "had many good days and did many good deeds ... like us all, he made mistakes."
He asked God to "reward him for his good works and forgive him for any wrong he may have done.
"We don’t have any guarantee that life will be a long journey. Joe was just 67 years of age.
"We are not guaranteed a tomorrow."
An investigation into the incident at Letterkenny University Hospital, where Mr McCarron was convinced to refuse treatment and staff at the hospital were verbally abused, has been launched by An garda Síochána.