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Holiday horror

We we're having a fantastic family holiday in Kos. The resort was great, the weather was great and the people were great. We had reached our 2nd to last day and wanted to make some memories of our time in Kos so decided (as we often do) on a spur of the moment decision to book a trip on a boat around the coast. My son Leighton, wife Katy and I left around 1:30pm towards Paradise beach, renowned for the gaseous bubbles which rise through the water from deep within the seabed. Myself and Leighton swam through these magical bubbles and after a few minutes we were both joined by my wife, Katy. This was an amazing experience and left us in awe of the natural world. We proceeded further around the coast to see the Chapel on Kastri Island, and on towards the harbour where we dropped some broke pieces of bread in to the sea to attract the fish. Leighton and I slipped into the water with snorkels and watched through the foggy lens to see fish swimming around us, again offering a unique experience we would never have the opportunity to experience in the UK. We continued to our final stop at a small secluded cove with a natural rock formation which was like a skull in the rocks. We dropped back in to the water and swam towards the shore and around a big chunk of rock which had fallen many years ago and created a peninsula type of formation. It was shortly after this moment that our lives took a very different path to what we should have been on. We headed back towards the boat and Katy complained of a pain in her neck. Seconds later she was face down in the sea. I swam over becoming more and more concerned the longer she was face down. I reached for her leg and could immediately tell something was not right. She was lifeless and limp. I pulled the back of her life vest and lifted her head from the water. Her lips were blue, I shouted for help and the captain of the boat dived in. He swam with Katy to the edge of the boat and I took Leighton back and got him on to the safety of the boat. We dragged her body up on to the boat and began basic first aid, checking her airway, she was breathing just but experiencing what I would describe as a seizure. I had to place my finger in her mouth to clear her swollen tongue from her throat and help to maintain a clear airway, whilst the Captain radioed for assistance. The Kos ambulance service was already out on another call and would take over an hour to reach us. She drifted in and out of consciousness, screaming about her head and difficulty seeing. She was clearly seriously ill and we needed to act as fast as possible. He asked if we had insurance, to which I replied yes and we sped back to the resort jetty where a private doctor, life guards and a stretcher were waiting. As we travelled across the water I looked up to see our 8 year old squeezing his hands together and praying. My heart sank as I couldn't comfort him and leave my wife unattended. The Captain quickly spotted this and got Leighton to put on his fleece to stay warm and avoid shock, he then sat him next to him so he didn't have to witness the terrifying situation. We arrived quickly back at the resort. They struggled to get her across the waters edge from the jetty to the waiting golf buggy which rushed to the medical room where she was checked over by the emergency medics. She was rapidly deteriorating and was sick and disoriented. We packed her in an ambulance and headed to the private facility where I signed a consent form and they examined her. They quickly realised this was not a near drowning and something much more severe. They rushed her to Kos town hospital where they x-rayed her lungs and ran an MRI on her head. She was in severe pain and discomfort. It was clear the hospital could not deal with this type of illness and they had to arrange for an air ambulance to collect her for transfer to Athens in mainland Greece. A lovely lady, Michelle (from Thomson) arrived at the hospital to offer support. As a local she helped translate between me and the doctors. They explained she had experienced a brain hemorrhage and needed urgent medical care. I rang the insurance and explained the problems and they arranged a transfer from Kos to Athens the following day as there were no more flights or ferries as by now it was approximately 8pm.

The hotel and Manager were fantastic and allowed us to stay in the room as long as we needed and even offered us additional assistance getting to Kos airport. Later on this day I arrived at reception to pay my hotel bill and the reception passed me a bill from the private medical doctor from the previous day. This was for €450, I asked them to call him to see if I could pay on my credit card, as I didn't have that much cash left and the machine would not allow me to withdrawn more than €300 per day. He declined demanding that he wanted the cash and would send the police to prevent us flying. I even asked if I could pay the hotel and they reimbursed him, but he would not accept this. I came back to the room and informed the insurance company. As Katy is covered for up to £15m of medical cover they said they would cover this and to provide my insurance details to the Doctor. I went back to reception where an ambulance driver had appeared holding a card machine. I explained it was covered by insurance and he called the Doctor, who said he didn't deal with insurance and that I must pay. There was a stand off and after exchanges of calls between both the insurance and the Doctor left only 1 option. The transfer had arrived and we needed to get to the airport so as not to miss our flight to Athens. I paid on the credit card and took a receipt to claim back from the insurance company.
Eventually after a very long day waiting to fly we arrived in Athens, unloaded the cases and ran straight to the hospital. At this point I was I my own with Leighton and had very limited information as to where she was located. After going up and down in the lift a couple of times we finally found her in the ICU. They explained that they had found an aneurysm which had burst and that was the cause. They had to wait for the bleeding to slow down and stop but all throughout this time it was as if her brain was short circuiting. The ICU visiting is limited to only half an hour a day and Leighton is not allowed in. He has to sit outside the window and peer through to see his mum. The next day the cerebral fluid had built up so much that they had to fit an emergency drain to release the pressure and help to clear some of the blood out and off of her brain. They placed her in an induced coma type state and placed her on a respirator to breathe for her. Later that day I met with the surgeon and he explained that he would need to carry out a procedure to fit metal coils into the aneurysm to reduce the risk of any further bleeding. He called me after the operation and was happy that he had reduced the risk sufficiently that she should not have another bleed. She is currently in a very risky situation and the potential for an infection in the brain is high. Her blood pressure was dangerously high as her body tried to combat the trauma.

I will complete the story of events as best as I can, but the reason for this page is to help support my stay with Katy in Greece as she will not be able to fly for a minimum of 6-8 weeks due to the type of injury. We are not sure if there is any damage yet but my main priority was to get Leighton home to allow me to focus on supporting my wife and the hospital. The insurance company HCC International (who were found through MoneySuperMarket) have been dreadful. They are leaving me in severe distress and would not pay for Leighton to fly home, despite him only being 8 and even accompanied by his grandmother, who I have paid for the flight for. Initially they were ok but after covering the transfer to Athens have become difficult and the underwriters are interpreting the policy wording in such a way as to favour them over my situation.

I am going to have to locate some cheaper accommodation through AirBnB close to the hospital and will need food and drink which they are unlikely to cover for this period. I really just want her to be well enough to be with me and eventually come home. We have been married together for 20 years and it feels like a piece of me is missing. I can't sleep for long I can't eat and can't stop reliving those moments over and over again.

Please help me to stay out here with my wife. So we can come back home together and I will fight with the insurance company once this ordeal is finished and I can focus on other this rather than just my wife's health.


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Katy Head

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