Miracle cure for swine flu man airlifted abroad
AN IRISH swine flu victim who was airlifted to Sweden for specialist treatment last week is making a miraculous recovery.
Padraig Gregan (32) was transferred to Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm last week after suffering major deterioration to his lungs because of the virus.
But the Wicklow man was well enough to finish the highly specialised procedure known as extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (Ecmo) -- and he is now fully conscious for the first time in six weeks.
His sister Mary Gregan Kinsella told the Herald that the family hoped he would return to Ireland next week.
"It's great news. We're looking at him being there for another week, but he has been transferred to another hospital and he's off the Ecmo treatment. He's still on ventilation but he's breathing on his own a little. He's also still on dialysis because his kidneys aren't functioning."
She added: "He's more alert and they had him sitting out on the side of the bed with some help yesterday. He's not able to talk yet because the ventilation is still going."
Padraig was transferred to Sweden in an emergency on February 5, after doctors discovered that air pockets were forming around his lungs.
Mary explained: "We didn't think we'd see an end to it.
"We didn't think there was going to be a positive outcome, we didn't have much hope one week ago but within the space of a week, he's improved.
"It was very dramatic and stressful.
We can't wait for him to get home now and hopefully we'll be able to talk to him when he gets there."
The Wicklow man was fit and healthy up until New Year's Eve when he visited his local doctor and received medication for flu. But when his condition did not improve, he was immediately sent to Wexford hospital by ambulance.
And now doctors anticipate that swine flu has damaged his lungs, but they will not know the extent of it until a few weeks time.
"There will be some damage to his lungs but we don't know how much yet. He woke on Saturday after a gradual waking process."
The Gregan family say they are indebted to their family, neighbours, friends and local community for all their kind thoughts and prayers while Padraig has been ill.
"We really want to say a big thank you to all of our neighbours and community for all they're continued support and help.
"They've been brilliant."