BANGKOK – A UK man is seriously ill in hospital in Thailand after collapsing while on holiday.
Robert Taylor’s family fear the bill for his care and return home could run into many thousands of pounds as he has no insurance.
Mr Taylor, 52, of the UK, collapsed in his hotel room in Bangkok on October 7, the day before he was due to return to Wales after a break of more than two weeks.
A friend and traveling companion had to pay more than100,000 Baht simply to get him into a hospital in the city, where he was diagnosed with septicemia, which appears to have developed due to infection from a leg problem originally caused by diabetes.
His companion subsequently had to return home, and Mr Taylor’s sister Anita Williamson, also of Cefn Fforest, has been phoning Thailand for regular updates on his progress.
“We’re sick with worry, not sleeping well, and it’s badly affecting our dad Raymond, who is 83,” said Mrs Williamson.
Mr Taylor is understood not to have been insured, and Mrs Williamson said she was told after his first four days in hospital that his treatment had so far cost almost 400,000 Baht.
“I asked for him to be transferred to a less expensive hospital, and that’s been done. But we don’t know how long he’ll be out there.
“He was in a coma, but I understand he’s now conscious. We’re sick with worry because he’s in a strange place on his own and the bills are mounting.
“We just want him home, but I don’t know how we’re going to pay for it.”
Mr Taylor, known in Cefn Fforest UK as Big Bob, weighs around 390 lbs, and has had diabetes for several years, becoming insulin dependent two years ago.
“He has problems with his right leg due to diabetes and I’ve been told it spread to his left leg and got into the bone, and he has septicaemia,” said Mrs Williamson.
“We’ve also been told he’s got pneumonia. I spoke to him on October 2 and he sounded rough and said he was struggling to breathe. Three days later he was no better, but he put that down to the heat.
“It’s difficult because of the language barrier. I’m phoning the hospital but only getting basic information.”
A British Consular official in Bangkok has visited Mr Taylor and updated the family on his condition on Wednesday.
A Foreign Office spokesman said: “We are aware of Mr Taylor’s hospitalisation. The consular staffs are providing support to his family at this difficult time.”
Even if you are fit and healthy, don’t travel without health insurance – accidents do happen. Declare any existing medical conditions you have – the insurance company will check if your problem is pre-existing and will not cover you if it is undeclared. You may require extra cover for adventure activities such as rock climbing. If your health insurance doesn’t cover you for medical expenses abroad (emergency evacuation is expensive; bills of over US$100, 000 are not uncommon), you should get travel insurance. The travel insurance we recommend is very flexible: you can buy, extend and claim online from anywhere in the world 24/7, even if you’ve already left home.
In many countries doctors expect payment in cash. Keep all documentation (medical reports, invoices etc) for claim purposes. Some policies ask you to call back (reverse charges) to a centre in your home country where an immediate assessment of your problem is made. It is always wise to inform your insurance company if you seek medical advice whilst abroad.