'Traumatic' | 

OAP Tom Niland may spend rest of life in hospital paralysed after burglary attack

Mr Niland (74) has been on life support at Sligo University Hospital since an aggravated burglary at his home on January 18 left him with serious injuries.

Tom Niland

Neasa CumiskeySunday World

Pensioner Tom Niland may remain in hospital paralysed from the neck down for the rest of his life, according to his cousin.

Mr Niland (74) has been on life support at Sligo University Hospital since an aggravated burglary at his home on January 18 left him with serious injuries.

His cousin Michael Walsh said that there’s “no sign” of Tom getting out of hospital any time soon as things are “not looking good”.

“It’s seven months now since it happened and he’s still in pretty much the same condition,” he told the Irish Daily Mirror.

“You could say there has been no real progress. It’s not looking good in that respect. He has no feeling from the neck down.

“I was in there yesterday and his hand was dangling down at the side of the bed and he had no awareness of that.

“He knows I’m there; this is the thing. He does try to talk despite having this thing in his throat.

“We really don’t know how much he knows, and I don’t bring up the past.

“I don’t bring up the incident or anything like that because it is traumatic for him.

“He does realise that he is lying there and can’t move and we are all moving around him. It’s very frustrating for him. They’ve told me that it is a concern, he is down a lot. You can see it in his face.”

Michael said Tom will only be discharged from hospital if he can breathe without a ventilator.

“There is no sign of him getting out... The doctor said he could be looking at long term care until the end.

“What they are trying to do in there is get him off the ventilator which means they reduce the oxygen but it’s not working. His pulse starts dropping and they have to restore it. They are trying to get his body to just kick in.

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“If he was able to breathe on his own and didn’t need the tubes, then he would be able to go to a home.

“Tom would not want this. He would not want to be the way he is at the moment.

“He was very active despite his age, he was physically strong. He’s 6ft and a very broad guy, he was a very happy go lucky guy.”

Gardai charged John Clarke (33), of Carrowkelly, Ballina, Co Mayo, Francis Harmon (54), Nephin Court, Killala Road, Ballina and John Irving (28), of Shanwar, Foxford, Co Mayo, with aggravated burglary in connection with this incident.

All three were remanded in custody by Sligo District Court on March 10.


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