An unexpected ruptured colon had Darryl Creevey hospitalised while holidaying in New Caledonia without travel insurance.
A Nelson man hospitalised without travel insurance while on holiday says travellers should check their insurance cover before leaving home.
Darryl Creevey and his 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.
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“We thought we were covered.”
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. 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 set up a Givealittle page which he said would be a great help towards the fees, totalling nearly $4500.
But what really got Darryl 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 along with the Givealittle money, a “rainy day fund” would help with the bill, along with Era’s “good financial planning”.
Darryl said 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 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 six-day stay in ICU, 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 she found a solution and she found 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’d be back to good health.
He said in four or five months he would need further surgery to “put everything back where it’s meant to be”.
He wasn’t sure when he’d be able to return to work at Altex Coatings but he said he hoped it would be within a few weeks.