Tragedy | 

Irishman (42) dies after suffering stroke while swimming in Greece

Jonathan Tobin (42) had been in critical condition in a hospital in Crete since the incident last July.

Jonathan Tobin

Ralph Riegel and Olivier KelleherIndependent.ie

An Irishman who suffered a stroke while swimming in Greece has died after spending almost four months in hospital.

Jonathan Tobin (42) had been in critical condition in a hospital in Crete since the incident last July.

Mr Tobin (Jiles) of Youghal, Co Cork was an inpatient at Heraklion University Hospital in Crete since the tragedy on July 29.

He had been living in Crete for twelve months prior to the tragedy occurring.

A special Go Fund me page was set up to bring him home.

However, Labour TD for Cork East Sean Sherlock subsequently raised the issue in the Dail.

This led to him being flown home by air ambulance last month courtesy of the Government's Treatment Abroad Scheme.

Mr Tobin passed away peacefully at Cork University Hospital on Tuesday evening.

He is survived by his parents Margaret (Mag) and Shane and his two brothers, Ryan and Aaron.

Funeral arrangements are still being finalised.

On October 26, his mother posted on social media that they were delighted to have secured an air ambulance for her son to fly home from Crete to Cork.

"Whatever happens our Jonathan is coming home where he belongs. We could not have done it without each and every single person who helped in any way," she posted.

In a post on Facebook, a family friend said that they had received "a lot of comfort and consolation that family and friends got to spend a little bit of time with him (Jonathan) and that he passed away here in Ireland surrounded by loved ones.

"It's been a long road since July but he is at his final resting place, no more suffering. His heart was strong till the very end and that just reflected on the person he was. To all those who helped along the way -- huge thank you. Arrangements will follow."

Meanwhile, Mag Tobin gave an interview to the Neil Prendeville show on Cork's Red FM in early October in which she said that she received a phone call on July 30 where she was informed that her son had been found floating face down in water.

"Seemingly he was there for about twelve minutes and there was a child (saw him) and told his dad and they dragged him out and gave him CPR on the beach for twenty minutes until the ambulance came," she said.

"They brought him to the local hospital which didn't have the facilities for him so they drove him two and a half hours to the University Hospital in Heraklion."

"Nobody saw him going into the water. The beach was packed. They thought he was snorkelling actually."

"He was on life support for six weeks. They did brain scans and MRI's and at the moment there is no brain activity. He is out of ICU. He is in a ward."

"We went over for 12 days when it happened and we went over again getting back yesterday. We have to get him home." Mrs Tobin said her son was able to open and blink one eye and could move his mouth a little.

She had talked to him for hours and hours "with no recognition." He had lived in England for four or five years prior to his move to Greece.

Mr Tobin stayed at home in Cork during the pandemic.

"He decided to go to Crete and live over there. He was a plasterer. He was a great snooker player. He won the Munster championships a few years ago. He was great. Very friendly. Now looking at him it is heartbreaking."

"(Before the accident) he was due to come home on September 7. He had his ticket bought."

She said doctors believed that Jonathan got a stroke in the water.

"His mouth is a little lopsided so we think it was stroke."

Mag said last October she knew that there was no chance of rehabilitation but she wanted her son to die in Ireland surrounded by his loving family.

"He is skin and bone. They are feeding him liquid food through his nose. We have a TD working for us and we are hoping to get him into CUH. We have discussed (turning off his machine) but they said they can't (in Greece) because his heart is still beating. There is no (chance of improvement)."

"You wouldn't know the ease it would be for us to get him home. We don't think he will have much time left but for the time he has left (we want him home). We just want him home here. We don't want him to die over there on his own. "


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