Med­i­cal bills stack up af­ter unin­sured hol­i­day hor­ror

Nelson Mail - - News - Carly Gooch carly.gooch@stuff.co.nz

A Nel­son man hos­pi­talised with­out travel in­sur­ance while on hol­i­day says trav­ellers should check their in­sur­ance cover be­fore leav­ing home.

Dar­ryl Creevey and wife Era re­turned from their night­mare break in New Cale­do­nia on Wed­nes­day night af­ter a har­row­ing cou­ple of weeks, with a hos­pi­tal bill twice the amount they were ex­pect­ing.

A bill that was thought to be around $10,000 dou­bled, Dar­ryl said, to $21,000.

And with­out travel in­sur­ance, the bill has landed di­rectly at their feet.

‘‘We thought we were cov­ered,’’ he said. Dar­ryl had health in­sur­ance with South­ern Cross Health back in New Zea­land, which he thought ex­tended to their over­seas trav­els.

‘‘Peo­ple re­ally need to check thor­oughly and ask the ques­tions of who they be­lieve their provider is,’’ he said.

‘‘They need to ask the hard ques­tions – am I cov­ered for this, and what do I need to do to be ab­so­lutely sure that I’m cov­ered?’’

Dar­ryl’s daugh­ter has set up a Givealit­tle page, which he said would be a great help to­wards pay­ing the fees. It has so far raised nearly $4500.

But what re­ally got him through, he said, were the mes­sages re­ceived through the page.

‘‘It was peo­ple’s kind­ness and wishes and good thoughts and pos­i­tive com­ments – that is what re­ally gave me a big boost while I was still there.

‘‘One guy sim­ply said, ‘I hope you get well and get home soon bro’, and gave $5. ‘‘That’s the mes­sage you need.’’

He said that along with the Givealit­tle money, a ‘‘rainy day fund’’ would help with the bill, along with Era’s ‘‘good fi­nan­cial plan­ning’’.

Dar­ryl said that a few days into the hol­i­day, ‘‘it all turned to cus­tard’’.

Era rushed Dar­ryl to hos­pi­tal, as he was in ex­cru­ci­at­ing pain. He was di­ag­nosed

‘‘Peo­ple’s kind­ness and wishes and good thoughts and pos­i­tive com­ments – that is what re­ally gave me a big boost.’’

Dar­ryl Creevey

with kid­ney stones, and sent away af­ter be­ing given mor­phine and med­i­ca­tion pre­scrip­tions.

The next day, Dar­ryl was in even more pain. Once again he went to the hos­pi­tal, but this time he was in for the long haul.

He had a hole in his colon caus­ing a bac­te­rial in­fec­tion, lead­ing to peri­toni­tis – a life-threat­en­ing con­di­tion which has a 60 per cent sur­vival rate.

Dar­ryl un­der­went surgery be­fore a six­day stay in in­ten­sive care, fol­lowed by four days in reg­u­lar hos­pi­tal care.

Dur­ing his stay in hos­pi­tal, Dar­ryl said he kept think­ing about his wife, who was deal­ing with the dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion on her own. But Era said her be­lief in the Catholic faith got her through.

A 10-minute prayer alone at one of the nearby churches grabbed the at­ten­tion of the church’s dea­con, she said. He gave her ac­com­mo­da­tion at his fam­ily home, and as­sis­tance.

Dar­ryl said Era found both a so­lu­tion and a home. ‘‘I was cer­tainly stuck with the right per­son.’’

Re­cov­er­ing back at home, he said he still had a fair way to go be­fore he would be back to good health.

He said he would need fur­ther surgery in four or five months to ‘‘put ev­ery­thing back where it’s meant to be’’.

He wasn’t sure when he would be able to re­turn to work at Al­tex Coat­ings but he said he hoped it would be within a few weeks.

Dar­ryl Creevey and wife Era face a five-fig­ure bill af­ter Dar­ryl was hos­pi­talised with an un­ex­pected rup­tured colon while hol­i­day­ing in New Cale­do­nia with­out travel in­sur­ance.

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