Relief for family as Belfast man Joe Quirey shows improvement after New York heart attack
The family of a Belfast man who had to be put into a coma after suffering a heart attack in New York have spoken of their relief that his condition is improving.
Joe Quirey (66) was on the "trip of a lifetime" to New York last week with his grandson Ben Miskelly to celebrate his 18th birthday.
Joe, his wife Doreen and Ben arrived in the Big Apple on Sunday, however they were just two days into their trip when tragedy struck.
While sightseeing in Times Square on Tuesday night, Joe suddenly collapsed - suffering a massive heart attack.
Speak to the Belfast Telegraph, Ben Miskelly said his grandfather showed no signs of illness prior to the incident.
"It was really scary, because he didn't look unwell or anything, he did say anything - he just collapsed. It was terrifying," he said.
When paramedics arrived on the scene, Joe had no pulse, however he was treated where he lay for 20 minutes and brought to Mount Sinai Hospital.
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He was placed into an induced coma, with fears he may have suffered brain damage.
Speaking on Tuesday, Ben said his father has fought back and is showing signs of improvement.
"He's been sedated, but they are bringing him round gradually and doctors are hoping to remove his breathing tubes today, so he'll be able to support himself," he said.
"So he's getting a bit better day by day. As they've been bringing him round, he has been able to open his eyes, but he has been able to speak or anything like that that. There's been worries that he might have brain damage, but the signs so far have been positive.
"He's also had an MRI, so we're just waiting for the results for that which will tell us more. But he has damage to his liver as well which is also being checked out."
Ben's mother and Joe's daughter, Joanne, has flown out to New York to be by her father's bedside with her mum Doreen. While their insurance company may cover the medical bills, the family are likely to have to pay out thousands for accommodation and other expenses, depending on how long they have to stay in New York.
Due to the severity of Joe's condition, the family know he will not be home for Christmas.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help out the family and cover some of their costs, which has so far raised just over £3,400.
Joe said: "It's been really difficult for my mum and granny, even the taxis from the hotel to the hospital and back are around $30 each way. But thankfully now they're in a hotel a closer to the hospital, which makes things a bit easier.
"People have been really generous donating to the GoFundMe page, it's been a huge help to my mum and granny. We're so grateful for all the help."
You can donate to the fundraising campaign for Joe Quirey here.
Belfast Telegraph Digital