Mum’s battle to fly her son home after he suffers massive stroke in Cambodia

Esther McLaughlin (right) with Charlie and his two sisters Jennifer (second left) and Lyndsay
Esther McLaughlin (right) with Charlie and his two sisters Jennifer (second left) and Lyndsay
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A heartbroken mum is desperately raising money to fly her son back to her Fylde coast home after he had a stroke which left him fighting for his life.

Esther McLaughlin, from Thornton, is keeping vigil at her 38-year-old son Charles’ bedside in Cambodia.

Charles McLaughlin, 38, in hospital in Phnom Penh after suffering a stroke while travelling

Charles McLaughlin, 38, in hospital in Phnom Penh after suffering a stroke while travelling

She fears he will die if she can’t raise the funds to get him back to the UK as soon as possible.

Two large blood clots were found in Charles’ brain after his stroke.

Midwife Esther, 67, flew to Phnom Penh immediately when she heard what had happened and now plans to remortgage her house to pay to repatriate Charles.

“He communicates with his eyes,” said Esther, who is looking after her son with his girlfriend Quynh Le, who also flew out from London.

“I tell him to blink and he blinks. He can’t seem to move any of his limbs.

“It’s a brain stem lesion with two clots. It was a stroke that he suffered that’s how it seems to have left him.

“He’s still on the life support system here but the doctors wanted to downgrade him because they can do no more for him neurologically.

“They have said it’s all to do with rehabilitation now. We need to get him home to get him rehabilitated. He’s only 38 – he’s quite fit otherwise.

“I just really, really want him home. It’s just so sad watching him lying there with the tubes.

“It’s heartbreaking as any mother would understand.

“I feel so helpless.

“Even the doctors said in this country we don’t have rehabilitation. His condition might not actually be very bad once he gets home.”

Charles is on life support with assisted breathing in Calmette Hospital, in Phnom Penh, and although facilities are limited, staying there still costs £400 a night.

He was discovered by his landlord on Wednesday, September 5 on the floor of his flat unconscious.

Quynh had not heard from Charles for two days and, concerned, she contacted his landlord on Wednesday to ask him to go and check on him.

Esther said: “The landlord had to break the door down and found Charles lying semi-conscious.

“We don’t know how long he’d been lying there.

“I had heard from him on the Tuesday because it was his nephew’s birthday in Cleveleys.

“I heard about what happened on Thursday afternoon and got the earliest flight out that I could.”

Now Esther and Charles’ sisters Lyndsay Shaw, 44, who also lives near her mum and Jennifer McLaughlin, 41, from Essex, have launched a fundraiser to bring him home.

So far they have raised more than £24,000 of their £105,000 goal.

Charles decided to dip into his savings and take a year out travelling after he was made redundant from his job at a call-centre in London.

Because Charles cannot communicate with them they cannot find out what travel insurance he had and the family are also being denied access to his bank account. The family said a personal accident policy that was in place did not cover repatriation costs.

With his medical needs he is not able to travel back to the UK on a commercial flight and the family cannot afford the cost of repatriating him.