Young Cork man leaves Intensive Care to recover from brain injury

By Sarah Slater

A young Cork man who suffered a traumatic brain injury in the US following a freak accident is now recovering in his Canadian home following a brave battle to stay alive.

Last October, Liam O’Connell, from Ballincollig, who is affectionately known as “Doug” by friends, suffered serious head injuries after a freak accident involving an electric scooter while holidaying in Los Angeles, California.

The 31-year-old has been working as a civil engineer in Vancouver, Canada, for the past eight years.

Three weeks after his accident on October 5, he was moved out of Intensive Care in Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Centre after being in a critical condition. Doctors diagnosed him with a fractured skull, subdural bleeding and traumatic swelling of the brain and he was placed in an induced coma.

Emergency surgery involving a decompressive craniectomy procedure, where a section of his skull was removed to relieve pressure on his brain, was carried out by specialist medics.

Posting an update on the fundraising page, The Fight of Liam (Doug’s) Life on gofundme.com, his friends said: “Since our last update, we are delighted to say that Liam’s recovery has continued at the same rate, most of which the medical team have put down to (his) youth, strength and overall fitness levels.

“On October 8, Liam was transferred via air ambulance to Vancouver General Hospital, which was supposed to be Liam’s base to continue his recovery.

“However, on Saturday, following reviews of his CT scans by neurosurgeons and further improvements, Liam was discharged and allowed to stay in his own apartment in Vancouver while he continues his rehabilitation. This will take place in GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre five days per week for the foreseeable future.

“In the meantime, doctors will review Liam’s brain swelling to decide when best to carry out his next craniotomy surgery.

“Liam is overjoyed to be back in the comfort of his own apartment and close to his great group of friends in Vancouver... but more importantly reunited with his phone and Instagram account – keep an eye out for future updates from the man himself.”

“A long road ahead for Liam in his recovery and we’d like to stress again how helpful the funds raised for this campaign will be to Liam and his family over the weeks and months to come!”

Up to €92,000 has been raised to help Liam in his recovery.

"Once again, we are so grateful to each and every donation to date – an amount which we would never have imagined possible when we started this campaign in (late October). Thank you for helping Liam and his family on his road to full recovery.”

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