The family of a seriously ill swine flu victim have been told he will have to be airlifted to a hospital abroad if his condition deteriorates.
Padraig Gregan (32) from Coolboy, Co Wicklow is fighting a lung infection in Cork University Hospital. He is heavily sedated and dependent on a respiratory machine to help his lungs function.
Padraig's brother Michael told the Herald: "Last Saturday night Padraig got worse and the nurses were talking to our family and they were saying that if Padraig gets worse he'll have to be airlifted to Denmark or Sweden or somewhere like that.
"His lungs are really blocked up. He's on a machine the whole time and the machine is pumping his lungs the whole time.
"They're waiting for him to turn a corner. He's heavily sedated all of the time for his own sake, because all of the tubes would be very uncomfortable for him otherwise."
Doctors are confident that Padraig will make a full recovery but they told his family that it could take three months for him to recover fully, and he'll gradually be weaned off the machine.
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.
Last Monday January 10, he was rushed to Cork by ambulance and garda escort, where he is now being treated with antibiotics.
"It's very hard, it's very distressing. He doesn't smoke. He enjoyed his few pints and that's it. He loves the outdoors and he's always loved our cousin's farm," said his sister Mary.
Padraig is in a ward with other swine flu patients, and his family wear protective clothing each time they visit.
His family said he had no underlying illnesses and urged anyone who thinks they might have swine flu to seek medical attention immediately.