A Hunter man is pleading for help to get his wife medically evacuated back home after she suffered a serious brain injury in Thailand, leaving her in a vegetative state with a hefty medical bill.
Singleton couple Paul and Kylee Enwright flew to Thailand on May 27 to unwind after a tough few years running their pest control business.
But now they are tens of thousands out of pocket and looking at up to $200,000 to get Kylee home on a medical flight.
"It's been pretty confronting," Paul said. "She's gone from a happy, bubbly 42-year-old mother to being in a vegetative state, head shaved, not being able to communicate.
"I just want to get my wife home. She needs our help."
The day after arriving in Khao Lak, the pair had a few drinks at the pool bar. Paul said Kylee headed to use the bathroom before dinner, but slipped and fell.
"She stepped off about a half-meter high deck," he said. "I don't think she realised there were no steps there and she's landed on her head."
Paul was alerted by staff and arrived to find his wife unconscious.
"There was blood around her head, blood coming from her ears, she was unresponsive," he said.
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Kylee was rushed to a local hospital, where she was stitched up and intubated. She was then transferred to Bangkok Phuket Hospital for brain surgery and placed in an induced coma.
"The first of June, they took sedation off her and were hoping that she was going be a bit more alert, a bit more awake.
"She has opened her eyes a few times in the last few days, but only briefly. They thought she would be more alert than that by now.
"She is moving her left leg and left arm quite freely, she can squeeze your hand but her right side doesn't move very much and she's still on a ventilator, not helping her breath but there in case she needs it."
Paul said when they entered the hospital, he was told to pay 300,000 baht (almost $13,000) before they would start treating her.
"They wanted 500,000 baht initially, but I didn't have that on my card at the time and they said they'd come back in the morning," he said.
"I said, 'I don't know how I'm going to pay for this type of thing' and they said insurance should be fine."
But after starting a claim, Paul said his insurer wouldn't cover it due to an alcohol clause in the policy. The insurer took CCTV of her walking and falling and the bar bill as evidence.
"None of the hospitals took a blood alcohol level," he said.
"When we first got to the bar and got the first drinks they presented me with a bill. I didn't read it, I just signed it. Then the hotel themselves closed the bill off because we went to the hospital.
"When I finally got the bill, they attributed 14 beers to me and one long island iced tea to Kylee to start with then eight more."
Paul disputes those numbers
"I believe it was no more than five," he said.
"I don't deny that we had a few drinks at the bar.
"We did what many Australians do on their first day in another country. We relaxed at the pool bar.
"We weren't out drink driving, we weren't out nightclubbing. We were at the hotel, sitting at a pool bar just having some relaxing drinks and talking to other hotel guests. And it just went to crap really quickly."
It is costing $5000 each day Kylee is in hospital, Paul said. He wants to get her to an Australian hospital as soon as possible to give her the best fighting chance.
Paul has been in contact with the consulate to get power of attorney, transfer their company directorship into his name and access bank accounts. He is also trying to sell assets back home and set up a GoFundMe to raise money.
"I've only been able to spend an hour, an hour-and-a-half in the hospital at a time by her side because I've had to deal with all the other stuff.
"It was all me for two or three days before my kids got here, so I spent hardly any time with her and I'll have to carry that guilt for the rest of my life."
The GoFundMe page has already raised more than $54,000 with many messages of support from loved ones and colleagues in the pest control business.
To donate, visit gofundme.com/f/pay-for-kylees-life-saving-medical-expenses.
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