End our holiday hospital hell

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THE family of a man being kept alive in hospital in Thailand have made an emotional plea to staff to turn off his life support machine.

Relatives of Philip Blakemore, 75, say only 20 per cent of his brain is functioning following two strokes suffered on holiday with his wife.

But under Thai law this is enough to keep Mr Blakemore on a life support machine despite pleas from his devastated wife and daughter.

To add to their woes the family is also facing a £19,000 medical bill after their insurance company refused to pay out.

His daughter Pauline, of High Gate, South Shore, spoke to The Gazette from her father’s hospital bed in Thailand.

She said: “This is a horrendous situation, absolutely devastating, my dad is in a coma and has bleeding on the brain which is severely damaged.

“He has now picked up an infection in the hospital and is basically being kept alive on a ventilator in intensive care.

“We have been handed a bill of £19,000 because the insurance company say my dad missed out information on his policy forms.

“But there is no money to pay it and the longer he is kept alive in this state the more money we are going to have to pay. This is absolute hell.”

Mr Blakemore, of Palatine Road, Blackpool, has spent the winter months in Thailand with his wife Vera for the last 30 years.

Mrs Steele added: “They save up all year to spend time over here and my dad was excited about the trip.

“He suffers from diabetes and circulatory problems but has done since he was in his forties, he was definitely fit enough to travel.”

Insurer Staysure say that the information Mr Blakemore provided on his policy forms does not match up to a GP report.

This, they said made the policy invalid.

They say if all of the information regarding his health had been made available the cost would have been a lot more.

Mrs Steele said: “My mum and dad always paid their bills, were never in trouble with the law. They are honest people, and wouldn’t omit vital information.

“They signed up for their insurance over the phone and my mum would have answered all the questions asked of her honestly and to the best of her ability.

“I’m so worried if we can’t pay the hospital bills we will have our passports taken off us and won’t be allowed to leave the country. We are very scared.”

Mrs Steele’s husband, Phil, says the family back in Britain are extremely worried about the situation. He said: “The whole family is erribly worried about the financial situation and even though all the money in the world wont help poor Philip it will ease the worry for Pauline and Vera who are stuck out there.”

Stewart Rioch, General Manager of Staysure.co.uk, said the insurance originally offered to the Blakemores was invalid.

He said: “Naturally we sympathise, but having studied the matter in detail it appears the medical conditions disclosed at the time Mr Blakemore purchased the policy are significantly different to those disclosed on the GP report.

“In fact, had an accurate disclosure of medical details been made at the time of policy purchase, Mr Blakemore would have incurred a premium 75 times greater than what he was charged and actually paid.

“Mr Blakemore’s extensive medical history was not disclosed.

“Clearly this was critical to an accurate assessment of the risk.

“The insurance contract offered was therefore based on inaccurate information and cannot stand. The insurers have not declined the claim as such, rather they have been forced to treat the insurance as if it never existed and returned the premium to the customer.”