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'total miracle' Dad of young man injured in horrific collision to thank everyone who helped save his son's life in person

Young man seriously injured in horrific crash in North Kerry now on the road to recovery following surgery at Cork University Hospital


David O'Doherty with his son Thomas at CUH this week.

David O'Doherty with his son Thomas at CUH this week.

David O'Doherty with his son Thomas at CUH this week.

THE father of a young man seriously injured in an horrific collision in North Kerry last week has described his son’s recovery as a ‘total miracle’.

David O’Doherty said this week that he now intends thanking each and every paramedic, garda, nurse and doctor involved, in person, for his son’s salvation in the weeks and months to come.

Thomas Doherty (23) and three of his friends were rushed to hospital in Tralee after the van they were travelling in collided with a pole at Dirha on the Ballybunion road outside Listowel at around 3.40am on Thursday last, January 20.

While his friends’ injuries were described as non life-threatening, there were serious fears for Thomas due to the severity of the head injury he suffered, and he was rushed to Cork University Hospital later on Thursday.

“I can’t thank all the gardaí, nurses, doctors and paramedics enough for what they did for my son...and the surgeon who operated on him in Cork, that man saved his life,” Thomas’s father David O’Doherty told The Kerryman this week.

“I begged him to keep my son alive and said not to be worried about the repercussions and recovery afterwards. That man promised me he would do all he could and it’s thanks to him my son is still alive, and all the other emergency workers.”

It was just before 4am on Thursday when David and partner Caitríona were roused from sleep by a garda calling to their home to inform them of the accident and Thomas’s serious condition.

“I know the garda and that was an awful hard thing he had to do calling to us to tell us like that. It’s only when it comes to your own door you realise how tough the work is for gardaí and medics,” he said.

“But at least he was telling us that my son was still alive.”

They were ushered into a private room on arrival to University Hospital Kerry: “When we were called into a private room I thought that was it then.”

There was still hope, though, with Thomas then rushed to Cork for surgery on Thursday night.

A fraught period followed for his family, with David in constant contact with the hospital by phone. Indications were good by Friday, with Thomas responsive to physical stimuli.

“I rang on Saturday morning, and was told he still seemed to be doing good. But when a doctor told me at noon that he was sitting up and looking for something to eat, I actually hung up the phone in shock,” David said.

“It’s a total miracle and we can’t thank everyone enough for all the messages, we had a Mass here in Ballylongford organised by the GAA. He wears the 17 jersey for Listowel Celtic, and they gave him a round of applause on Sunday in the 17th minute of their match, which was a lovely gesture.

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“As for the gardaí, the paramedics, nurses, doctors and all emergency staff, I have no qualms in saying they all saved my son’s life. They are incredible, and when all this is over, I want to meet everyone of them to thank them in person for what they did for Thomas, including that surgeon who saved his life. He wouldn’t be here today but for them.”

The popular young sports star is now facing a long road to full recovery, but North Kerry continues to root for him every step of the way.

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