The family of a severely ill COVID-19 patient who was "rescued" from Letterkenny Hospital by anti-vaccine advocates has hit out at the people who advised him to leave the hospital. 

Joe McCarron was removed from Letterkenny Hospital in Donegal last Tuesday by anti-vaccine advocates who claimed that the hospital was trying to kill him and unneccesarily force him into the intensive care unit. 

However, McCarron was rushed back to the hospital on Thursday morning in a serious condition and remains in intensive care where he is currently fighting for his life on a ventilator. 

A spokesperson for his family has apologized to staff at the hospital for the incident and slammed the people who removed him from the hospital. 

The spokesperson also said that McCarron was showing positive signs in his battle against the coronavirus. 

"Joe is still in a critical but stable condition. He has serious lung damage from Covid-19 and is on a ventilator, but the signs are good," the spokesperson said. 

"Una (Joe's wife) would like to thank the staff and apologise for the actions of Joe’s so-called reckless friends earlier in the week.

"They did not help Joe’s recovery in any way. We would encourage everyone to follow proper medical advice." 

An anti-vaccine advocate filmed McCarron's "rescue" from Letterkenny Hospital and the footage quickly went viral on social media. 

McCarron is visibly struggling to breathe in the footage, while hospital staff pleaded with him to remain at the hospital to have the best chance of fighting the virus. 

"It’s a very difficult disease that you have, and I’m not lying to you, you could die,] but this could be your best chance in the hospital," one member of staff told McCarron. 

An anti-vaccine advocate responded by stating that it's "better he die in the house than he dies here". 

McCarron agreed to leave the hospital despite warnings from hospital staff that he would be "endangering" his life by doing so. 

Hard to watch.

Grim moment for @ucddublin @UCDMedicine by Dolores Cahill

A covid patient is removed from the hospital by anti-vaxxer, citing phrases;

Common court law
Putting those at the hospital on notice

Dolores has her grubby hands in this, I hold her just as responsible.

— Ally Mc Culladgh 🇮🇪 🇲🇲 (@culladgh) September 14, 2021

Saolta Hospital Group, which oversees Letterkenny Hospital, told the Irish Times that it is "gravely concerned" by a recent rise of disinformation campaigns about COVID-19 at Irish hospitals. 

"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," a Saolta spokeswoman said.