Gardaí have appointed a senior investigating officer to oversee an investigation into COVID-denying activists at Letterkenny University Hospital.
It comes after a video of activists appearing to encourage a COVID patient to check himself out of hospital against medical advice was widely shared online.
The video shows 67-year-old Joe McCarron leaving hospital earlier this month while doctors urge him to stay and anti-vaccination campaigners appear to encourage him to leave
He was readmitted to hospital in the following days and was placed on a ventilator; however, his condition deteriorated and he died on Friday.
The deliberate spreading of dis-information and at times defamatory comments against named staff members along with the posting of these videos on social media platforms is adding significantly to the burden already facing healthcare professionals
Full statement ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/FribAxLDZ2
— saoltagroup (@saoltagroup) September 16, 2021
Earlier this month the Saolta Hospital Group, which runs the hospital, expressed “grave concerns” about groups deliberately spreading misinformation at its hospital sites.
“The deliberate spreading of disinformation and at times defamatory comments against named staff members along with the posting of these videos on social media platforms is adding significantly to the burden already facing healthcare professionals,” it said.
It said the incidents are “highly disruptive and upsetting in clinical settings.”
Sinn Fein TD Padraig Mc Loughlin told Newstalk that more should be done to prevent protesters from entering hospital campuses.
“I think these incidents are deeply disturbing and outrageous,” he said.
“The fact of the matter is that our nurses and doctors in Letterkenny University Hospital and in our hospitals across the State have been in the business of Saving lives through this crisis.
“Nobody should impede them while they are in the business of saving lives so I believe these types of individuals should not be allowed on the hospital campuses.”
A Garda spokesperson said officers are continuing to investigate a “number of recent incidents a Letterkenny University Hospital,” noting that a senior investigator is heading up the probe.