THE father of a brave young man who has woken from a seven-month coma broke his family’s silence last night to thank people around the world for their support and prayers.
David Keohane, 29, from Ballyvolane in Cork, was brutally assaulted and left for dead on the street of a Sydney resort town last August.
He spent months in a coma in hospitals in Sydney and Cork before he stunned medical staff at Cork University Hospital (CUH) when he opened his eyes on St Patrick’s Day.
His devoted father Tom said his family has been inundated with messages of goodwill and support from Australia and all over Ireland.
“People have been very kind, sending messages of goodwill and support and this has been a great boost to our family,” he said.
“Staff in CUH have been wonderful. They are looking after David very well and we are all pleased with his progress to date.
“However, it is still early days and all our efforts are concentrated on David and working with staff in CUH helping him on his road to recovery.
“On behalf of David and my family, I want to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has sent their good wishes; this has been a difficult time and the kindness and concern people have shown has helped us all.”
News of David’s savage assault dominated news coverage across Australia last summer.
His recovery is making headlines again because it may be used to support the canonisation of an Australian-born miracle healing nun, Mary MacKillop, who died in 1909.
David’s family and friends have been praying to the beatified nun since his assault.
Reporters from Australian newspapers, radio and TV stations have been reporting on David’s progress since it emerged last week.
A correspondent from one Australian newspaper arrived in Cork last night to cover the story.
But Mr Keohane, through the Health Service Executive’s (HSE) communications department, said his family will not be conducting media interviews.
They realise David is facing a long road ahead and they want to focus on his recovery, he said.
David is showing good signs of cognitive recovery but experts have warned that further medical tests will be needed before the full extent of David’s brain injury will be known.
A HSE spokeswoman said the young man’s condition has improved in recent weeks and she said hospital staff are pleased with his progress to date. His official medical condition is classed as “comfortable”.
However, while David may be able to leave CUH within a few weeks or months, he may require further, though less intensive, medical care in another facility.
The David Keohane Recovery Fund, which was set up last August to help defray the costs associated with family travel and the airlift, is still open.
nDonations can be made at the Ulster Bank, High Street, Wilton, Cork, account number: 10152307, sort code: 98-54-86.
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