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More than £30k raised to help Belfast man Peter McGarry fighting for his life after suffering stroke in Guatemala

By Claire Williamson

Published 24/10/2016

Peter McGarry is in excruciating pain in hospital.
Peter McGarry is in excruciating pain in hospital.

More than £30,000 has been raised to help a Northern Ireland man who is fighting for his life after suffering a rare type of stroke in Guatemala.

Peter McGarry, from Dunmurry, suffered a subarachnoid haemorrhage on Friday, October 14.

This is an uncommon type of stroke caused by bleeding on the surface of the brain.

The 38-year-old lives in Jocotenango, Sacatepequez, in the north east of the country.

He is currently in hospital in Antigua and his family say he is in "excruciating pain".

A MRI scan showed that he has a brain aneurysm and needs surgery imminently.

However, the public hospital he is in has limited resources and his family say every time he needs a test or scan he is moved to a different hospital in another city.

They are concerned that this puts him at risk of the aneurysm rupturing.

His partner, Elvira, has to go the pharmacy every day to buy medication for the doctors to administer.

Mr McGarry’s parents, Sean and Helen, and two sisters, Louise May and Joanne McGoran, have since set up a Just Giving page in a bid to raise the £50,000 needed to move him to a larger hospital in Guatemala City.

Peter and Elvira in Guatemala in August 2015.
Peter and Elvira in Guatemala in August 2015.

Mr McGarry’s sister, Louise May (35) said: “Peter is in excruciating pain and, at times, has had to be sedated and restrained.

"Yesterday (Thursday October 20), an MRI confirmed that he has a brain aneurysm and needs surgery imminently. He is in a public hospital with limited resources. Every time he needs a test or a scan, he has to be moved to a different hospital in another city. This puts him at risk of the aneurysm rupturing, which could be fatal.”

Compounding their distress, Mr McGarry’s partner, Elvira Mendez, has restricted access to the ward and is not allowed to stay.

Louise added:  “Elvira is not allowed to stay with Peter and this is causing him to get very distressed when she is not there."

Founder of Guatemala Medical Travel, Lori Shea, described the the conditions in the hospital as ‘totally barbaric” and urged the family to move Mr McGarry to another facility as soon as possible.

Meanwhile a consultant neurosurgeon in the UK, who has seen Mr McGarry’s MRI results, highlighted the seriousness of his condition.

"The aneurysm needs repaired. There is a 50% chance of re-bleed within 30 days with 80% chance of mortality."

Since launching their appeal, the McGarry family have been inundated with messages of love and support for Mr McGarry who they describe as “fun-loving, happy and full of life”.

In just three days £30,000 has been raised to date and the family have thanked the public for their support so far.

Louise said: “Peter is a fighter, but he can't do this on his own. He needs your help.

“Please donate whatever amount you can to help us move him to a better hospital for the best treatment and surgery there, with a view to seeing if he can be moved back home to Belfast when his condition is stable. Please do what you can to help.”

To donate click here

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