A family had the holiday from hell when three of them ended up in hospital for completely different reasons racking up medical bills of £21,000.
Dominic Pitter, 36, and his wife Emily, 42, paid £9,000 for their five-star holiday to a resort on Jamaica’s west coast.
But on the second day disaster struck and Mr Pitter suffered a perforated bowel and was rushed to hospital. His treatment ended up costing £16,000.
While he was recovering his daughter Amelia, 12, was also hospitalised with acute gastroenteritis.
Her drip and re-hydration treatment cost the family, from Derby, another £920.
Meanwhile, Mr Pitter’s father Len, 66, decided to fly out to Jamaica to be by his bedside. But catastrophe struck again when he had a heart attack.
His three-day hospital stay cost £4,600. He also had to extend his stay by a month until he was well enough to fly back to the UK.
Maths teacher Mrs Pitter said: ‘What we hoped would be a well earned holiday of a lifetime in paradise, ended up being a being any families worst nightmare with three family members receiving emergency medical treatment.
‘Unless it happened to us, I think I’d still struggle to believe it was true. The experience has made us realise how lucky we are to have the NHS.’
In total the holiday ended up costing over £30,000 and the family had to shell out for the medical bills themselves before being refunded by insurers.
The family arrived at the Beaches Resort in Negril on the evening of July 22 for what was supposed to be a two-week holiday.
Mental health nurse Mr Pitter was admitted to Hospiten Montego Bay – 50 miles away from the all-inclusive resort – the next day.
He underwent life-saving surgery and had 25cm of his bowel removed – after experiencing ‘excruciating’ stomach pain following lunch.
But the family had to pay £16,000 for a doctor’s appointment, medication and the operation upfront on three credit cards.
The payment from their insurance was delayed because Mr Pitter needed to give consent due to data protection laws – but was not in a fit state.
She had to leave him and return to the girls – but claims staff at the hospital refused to give updates of his condition over the phone.
Mrs Pitter, a secondary school teacher, said: ‘We were excited to be arriving at such a nice hotel.
‘The children had never been to Jamaica but Mr Pitter’s father was born there so we wanted show the children where he came from.
‘Dominic is very athletic and we chose the resort because it included water sports like diving, water skiing and sailing.
‘But after we ate lunch he was in such pain that I had to call the nurse.
‘She contacted a doctor who administered morphine and steroids via drip.
‘We later discovered Dominic had suffered a perforated bowel; it could have happened at any time but decided to occur while we were on holiday.
‘We then had to pay around £16,000 in costs upfront so he could be taken to hospital and have life saving surgery.
‘I was unable to actually travel to hospital with him as it was the middle of the night and I had the girls. He had to go alone.
‘I assumed they had our medical records as I signed consent as his next of kin.
‘We only found out about a week after he was admitted that the insurance hadn’t got them, as due to data protection it needed to be Dominic giving consent.
‘Release of medical details was further delayed when Dominic ticked a wrong box on the form-he was ill in hospital. We didn’t know if we would get any money back at that time.
‘The worst part was not knowing if my husband was alive or not. When I rang the hospital they told me ‘We can’t discuss anything on the phone’.
‘I was powerless but had to carry on as normal for the girls.’
Days later oldest daughter Amelia was put on a drip in the hotel for a night after being diagnosed with acute gastroenteritis and dehydration – costing a further £920 ($1200) upfront.
And then youngest Matilda, seven, started being sick and complaining about an upset stomach at the same time.
Mr Pitter’s concerned father Len and mother Helena, 69, flew over from the UK to help the family, and the father-of-two was released from the hospital after 12 days.
The couple were given a day pass to the hotel to be with the family and he was snorkelling with Emily and the girls when he started gasping in the water.
Mrs Pitter added: ‘We went snorkelling with Len and he started gasping in the water; I asked him ‘Are you OK?’ but he said ‘No’.’
He managed to get out and stumbled into the hotel, and was admitted to the same hospital his son had been discharged from three days earlier.
Tests revealed he had suffered a heart attack, and he was kept under examination for a week.
Len was then admitted to a different hospital in Kingston to have an angioplasty – a procedure that involves widening arteries or veins following a heart attack.
It reduces chest pain and improve patient’s chance of survival. He paid for part of the treatment upfront before
It meant he and his wife had to stay in the country until September 2 while the others flew back.
Mr Pitter is now recovering at home. The operation has left him suffering with oedema – excess fluid – and his waist size has increased from a 32 to a 44.
Mrs Pitter said: ‘I will be eternally grateful to the staff at Beaches Negril who were truly unbelievable, and not only did everything they could to support me during such a difficult time, but also made sure our girls were able to enjoy some of their holiday.
‘I just hope we can return one day to thank them in person.
‘I hope that our story will help others avoid a similar situation.
‘Make sure you have credit cards with sufficient funds available in case of emergency and give consent to the insurance company to gain access to your medical records before you travel in case you find yourself in a situation where you can’t.’