A video shows a man of 75, struggling to breathe due to COVID-19, was coaxed to leave hospital by an anti-vaxxer. He died days later, say reports

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Clinicians work on intubating a COVID-19 patient in the ICU at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital in Lake Charles, Louisiana on August 10, 2021. Mario Tama/Getty Images
  • Joe McCarron, 75, died of COVID-19 after he was convinced to leave the hospital by anti-vaxxers.

  • A video shows an anti-vaxxer telling McCarron that staying in the hospital would kill him.

  • Two days after leaving, McCarron was rushed back to the hospital and died the following day.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

A 75-year-old man in Ireland has died of COVID-19 after anti-vaxxers convinced him to leave the hospital against medical advice, the Irish Mirror reported.

A video posted to social media shows Joe McCarron, who received treatment in intensive care at a hospital in Donegal, being convinced to leave by Italian national Antonio Mureddu Gravegliu.

Mureddu, a member of the so-called Freedom on the Land Movement, filmed the video and posted it on his Telegram channel.

In the video, Mureddu tells frail McCarron, "Put your trousers on, my friend. We are going home. You are safe."

A medic is heard telling Mureddu that what he is doing is wrong and that he is endangering McCarron's life by taking him out of the hospital.

"You have the right to decide what you want to do, but I don't think what he is saying is right," the medic tells McCarron, who is breathing heavily in a wheelchair.

"You're barely able to breathe now. We want you to stay to help you," the medic says.

"If you stay here, they're going to fucking kill you, Joe," Mureddu interjects.

The medic continues to plead with McCarron to stay, telling him his best chance of survival is to remain in the hospital.

Mureddu insists that the doctors are lying about the severity of the older man's condition before changing tack and saying it would be better for McCarron to die at home than in a hospital.

"These people, they are lying, so we go home now, my friend," Mureddu tells McCarron.

"It's better if he dies in the house than die in here. He's going to die with us," Mureddu says.

During the interchange, McCarron mostly remains silent before finally agreeing to leave with the Italian activist.

After leaving the hospital on Tuesday, McCarron's condition sharply deteriorated, and he returned to the hospital two days later, the Irish Mirror reported.

McCarron passed away in hospital on Friday morning, the paper said.

Antonio Mureddu Gravegliu, who lives in Galway, is a far-right activist who once tried to organize rallies in Ireland in support of the right-wing Italian Lega Nord party.

Mureddu claimed that McCarron contacted him and asked him to help him leave the hospital on his Telegram channel.

He frequently posts messages criticizing lockdowns and vaccine and mask mandates, and in one video, describes his attempts to travel from Ireland to France without a vaccine, mask, or PCR test.

Ireland Taoiseach Micheál Martin criticized the anti-vaxxer for encouraging McCarron to leave the hospital, reported the Irish Mirror.

"If you get it (COVID-19), you should treat it as very serious," Martin said.

"Certainly, it is outrageous that anyone would, in an ill-informed way, be advising people to leave the hospital. It endangers that person's health."

The paper reported that a family spokesperson said McCarron's wife Una wanted to apologize to the hospital staff for what had happened.

"Una would like to thank the staff and apologize for the actions of Joe's so-called reckless friends earlier in the week," the spokesperson said.

"They did not help Joe's recovery in any way. We would encourage everyone to follow proper medical advice."

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