‘Miracle’ medics saved balcony fall boy says father

The father of a boy who is in hospital after falling from the sixth floor of a hotel has thanked the “miracle” workers who saved his son’s life.

Neil Shanahan, 2, from Farranshone in Limerick City, suffered multiple injuries after falling 20m from a balcony on the top of the Strand Hotel in Limerick at lunchtime last Saturday.

Speaking at a prayer service in St Munchin’s church, Michael Shanahan thanked all those who have worked “miracles” for his son whom he said “was almost taken from us” last Saturday.

The father of three got a round of applause from several hundred people who gathered to pray for his son.

““Martina and I have been blessed with the birth of three fabulous children, one of whom, Neil, as you all know was almost taken from us on Saturday last in a fall.

“While we were not counting our blessings immediately after discovering what happened to Neil we have ever since been counting many, many blessings.

“Firstly, let me give you and update on Neil; thanks to the incredible care and skill of so many, he is in a stable condition in ICU at Temple Street. It is still very early days yet but he is responding as well to treatment as could be expected in the circumstances of falling the height that he fell.”

The Shanahan family had been attending a parish coffee morning in the hotel when Neil, the second youngest of three children, wandered off shortly before 1pm.

The community gathering was held on the ground floor of the hotel. However, Neil made his way into a lift and travelled to the sixth floor from where he climbed out onto a balcony and fell.

It’s understood Neil’s fall was broken by a table on an outside seated terrace area. He was cared for at the scene by a nurse who happened to be in a nearby hair salon before the ambulance arrived and he was taken to University Hospital Limerick.

Mr Shanahan told the congregation: “We were blessed first of all by the presence of the first responder, an American nurse whom I won’t name now but who happened to be there at the time, for her intervention and care.

“We are indebted particularly to the frontline emergency responders at the University Hospital here in Limerick and all at the emergency department, the doctors and nurses, at the hospital for their incredible work as his life hung in the balance.

“To the physicians and their nursing team at Temple Street Hospital, we say the deepest thank you also. As with your peers in Limerick and our incredible very first responder, you have worked miracles so far and continue to give Neil the best possible attention and care.”

Mr Shanahan thanked all the medical teams for the “incredible compassion” they have shown his family over recent days.

“To you Fr. Donal McNamara and your team, thank you also for arranging this very heartfelt and much appreciated prayer service of healing for Neil. We have no doubt but all the many, many prayers have added up for Neil and we are deeply grateful for this.

“Finally in terms of thanks - to all of you here this evening and to everyone else who has sent their prayers and best wishes to us over recent days, we are indebted. Our family and wider relatives, friends we know well, ones we don’t know that well and complete strangers. We are so grateful to all of you for your support. It has truly mattered and has helped us through these days and will help us through those that follow.

“Neil is, as I said, in a stable condition but we would ask you to continue to pray and hope for his recovery. He was baptised in this Church two years ago and we hope and pray that we will all as a family be back here in future celebrating very good days indeed.

“Finally, we appreciate the media interest in this story and their best wishes but we do, at this still very delicate time for Neil, ask for privacy... Again, thank you all; your support has kept us going and we will not forget it.”

Fr Donal McNamara, who led the prayers, said it was “miraculous that Neil survived that horrendous fall”.

“Yes we believe that miracle do happens,” he said.

He read out a short message from Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy who said all of Limerick and beyond have been praying for Neil Shanahan and that he has been struck by the deep sense of humanity shown for “this little man’s fight”.

Among those also present was Fr Dan Neenan from Monaleen, who married Martina and Michael. The manager of the Strand Hotel Sean Lally and staff were also in attendance. Fianna Fáil TD Willie O’Dea was also present along with the Mayor of Limerick Kieran O’Hanlon.


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