Paul Lupi, known as PJ, is in a coma in Bangkok after having a scooter accident in Phuket. Lupi did not have travel insurance. His family are trying to raise $150,000 to keep him in the best care
BANGKOK – A New Zealand National, Paul Lupi is in a coma at a Bangkok hospital after having a serious scooter accident in Phuket on Monday, the day before before he was due to fly home from a two-week holiday.
On Monday, the New Zealand Embassy in Thailand phoned Lupi’s family with the bad news.
His father Paul Lupi Snr, brother Mark Lupi, and friend Matt Hodgson flew to Phuket on the first flight they could get.
They found him packed in a hospital room with five other people, all on life-support.
“When they got there he was in a room with six other beds and no air conditioning. He’s got brain injuries so we needed to get the best guys on it,” Lupi’s brother Joe Lupi said.
“He’s in a private hospital there now with a team of ten working on it, and the key will be to get him home as soon as possible and hopefully within two weeks’ time.”
Lupi did not have insurance, and family and friends came together to have him flown to Bangkok’s Bumrungrad International Hospital to get specialist treatment.
“He’s got health and medical back here, and the kind of guy he is he thought he would be covered over there, but he’s not,” Lupi’s business partner Harvey Frame said. The cost of the tragedy so far has been enormous.
It cost $6000 per day to keep Paul in the hospital in Bangkok, plus scans and surgery and the cost to bring him home, the family said.
“They were aiming to raise $150,000 through givealittle to contribute to costs, about 1000 times the cost for basic travel insurance”.
“We’re just in fundraising mode now because the hospitals require their money upfront, $20,000 to $50,000 at a time,” Joe said.
“Parents, family and friends please, please check your loved ones’ insurance covers them for traveling offshore, its a detail thats so easy to overlook, please check.”
Travel insurance for two weeks in Asia for a New Zealander in his or her 20s is widely available for between $80 and $125.
Paul, the co-owner of CM Office Services, is one of eight children in the Italian Lupi family, a football fan who plays for Miramar Rangers and former head boy of Marlborough Boys’ College.
Friends and family are still trying to piece together what happened to Paul on Monday.
He’d bumped in to a friend before the crash, and it’s thought they were riding together on a scooter.
Lupi was wearing a helmet, but suffered impact to his cheek, while the friend was uninjured, Frame said.
“He is moving his arms and legs and we heard that on response he squeezed a finger. We want people to think there’s hope, not all doom and gloom, but it’s still pretty serious. Nobody knows with brain injuries.”
Frame initially contacted First Assistance, which helped them arrange for Paul to be airlifted a specialist hospital.
Staff at Bangkok’s Bumrungrad International Hospital confirmed Paul was in a ward there and was unable to speak as he was in a coma.