Belfast Telegraph

Family of Belfast man Joe Quirey's anguish after 'trip of a lifetime' to New York with grandson turns into nightmare

Joe Quirey and his grandson Ben during their trip to New York
Joe Quirey and his grandson Ben during their trip to New York
Andrew Madden

By Andrew Madden

The family of a Belfast man has spoken of their anguish after he took a massive heart attack while on a "trip of a lifetime" to New York and had to be placed in an induced coma.

For months Joe Quirey (66) had been looking forward to visiting the Big Apple with his grandson Ben Miskelly to celebrate his 18th birthday.

The dream trip, however, soon turned into a nightmare for the Quirey family that resulted in Joe being placed in an induced coma in hospital.

Joe, along with his wife Doreen and grandson, touched down in the states on Sunday for what was to be a six-day trip.

Doreen's cousin Lynne Stewart had arrived in New York last Friday and was due to return home on Wednesday.

The family were barely sightseeing for two days when Joe took a massive heart attack in the middle of the tourist hot spot of Times Square on Tuesday night.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Lynne Stewart said an ambulance arrived within minutes and paramedics began treatment on Joe at the scene.

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"For 20 minutes the paramedics worked on him, he had no pulse, he had nothing. They eventually got him to Mount Sinai Hospital where he was heavily sedated and placed in an induced coma," she said.

"The doctors have done some tests but they are not sure if there's any brain damage. There's obviously been damage done to his heart and they think there is also damage to his kidneys as well."

Joe's daughter and Ben's mother, Joanne Miskelly, flew to New York as soon as she heard the devastating news in order to be by her father's hospital bedside.

On Sunday morning, doctors began to bring Joe round from the induced coma in order to carry out further tests to determine the severity of his injuries and what treatment needs to be carried out.

Lynne said the family are waiting to hear back from their insurance company about what medical costs will be covered, but they are likely to have to fork out hundreds - possibly thousands - to pay for accommodation and other expenses depending on how long they have to stay in New York.

She has set up a GoFundMe page on Doreen's behalf in order to raise money to cover some of the family's costs, which has so far raised £2,200.

"They have no idea of how long they're going to be over there, but Joe definitely won't be able to get home before Christmas as it's only three weeks away. It's an absolute nightmare," Lynne said.

"Joanne and Doreen are just devastated. It's the waiting and not knowing that is hurting them the most. Not knowing what damage has been done or what way Joe is going to come out of this."

"It's just heartbreaking. We know he's not going to be home for Christmas. It's so daunting for Doreen as well, being in a foreign country and not knowing what's going on has been dreadful."

Lynne thanked all those who have donated so far to the GoFundMe campaign and said the entire family is "eternally grateful".

You can donate to the fundraising campaign for Joe Quirey here.

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