Medical bills stack up after uninsured holiday horror
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.’’
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.