A campaign has been launched in aid of a young Waterside man who suffered serious head injuries after a freak accident at his Nelson Drive home.
Ryan Gault fell down a flight of stairs at home as he was getting ready to go to work early last Wednesday morning.
Ryan, a member of the Caw Flute Band, has since undergone three operations at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast where he remains in an induced coma.
Ryan’s father Allister paid tribute to the medical staff he said have been working tirelessly to keep his son alive.
“Everybody, from the paramedics to the A&E at Altnagelvin, to the nurses up in the ICU in the Royal, have been brilliant and I really want to thank them for what they’re doing,” he said.
“He fell down the stairs at half four on Wednesday morning.
“He was starting work at six o’clock at Brewer’s Fayre. I heard a noise like somebody was banging our door, and when I went out Ryan was lying at the bottom of the stairs.”
Mr Gault called 999 and, after paramedics arrived, his son was taken straight to Altnagelvin Hospital.
“He was scanned and they were sent up to the Royal to the neurology department,” Allister said.
“I think as soon as Belfast seen the scans, he was made ready to be moved. He was in the A&E in Altnagelvin for maybe an hour-and-a-half to two hours.”
Mr Gault explained that once at the Royal Victoria Hospital, his son was given three operations over the course of the first 48 hours, including the removal of a portion of his skull due to swelling and bleeding on the brain. He has been in the intensive care unit ever since.
“We can’t get over the support that people have given us.
“He is so well loved by everybody. He had friends on both sides of the community.
“There are prayers being said all over, even in the chapels over the town. There are even prayers being said for him in Jerusalem.”
A website for people to donate to help pay for the family’s travel costs to and from Belfast has been set up, and prayers are being said across the city.