THE distraught wife of a coma-stricken Brit trapped in Tenerife has raised £32,000 to fly him home – thanks to Sun readers – after paying £200 a day to hold his hand.
Ex-cop Bill Annable, 75, was just two weeks into a month-long stay on the holiday island when he suddenly collapsed in the resort of Playa de las Américas.
Bill – who his wife, Dot, said was as “strong as an ox” – smashed his head on the pavement after collapsing while the doting couple walked back to their apartment on November 14.
Dot, 64, told The Sun Online her husband has been left with severe brain damage as a result of the tragic incident in Tenerife.
“Bill doesn’t recognise me. He doesn’t know anything at all,” she said on Monday, January 4.
She explained that “obviously Bill is not going to get any better.
“He does have brain damage. They don’t know whether it’s from when he hit his head on the pavement – whether he sustained damage then – or when he had the heart attack, and suffered a lack of oxygen to his brain before he was resuscitated.
“So the care he has now is respite care.”
Bill was initially taken by ambulance for treatment at a private hospital, where he was in a coma, before being taken to a public hospital.
I can’t thank enough the people I know – and the strangers who have helped to get Bill back home.
Then, last Friday, the former policeman from Pontefract was transferred to a hospice for respite care.
Unfortunately for distraught Dot, she hasn’t yet been able to speak with doctors to work out when her husband can be brought back home to the UK, to be closer to family and friends.
“When he was transferred on Friday, we couldn’t visit him.
“And we couldn’t visit on Saturday or Sunday – because of the Covid, and there was no doctor to speak to,” Dot told The Sun.
She added: “Bill doesn’t know I haven’t visited him as he’s in a vegetative state, which is terrible.
“That is the situation. Four days is a long, long time to not see him.
“Ideally I would like Bill transferred as soon as possible, but because of the Covid situation, I don’t know until we’ve spoken to the doctors at the hospice.”
Pals who speak Spanish fluently have been trying to help speak to a doctor at the hospice – but they’ve been fobbed off despite repeated attempts.
An emotional Dot said: “I’m in limbo. I last saw him on Thursday. We need to see him.
“The hospital wouldn’t allow visitors today – the receptionist my friends spoke to suggested phoning on Friday. My friend said ‘that’s not good enough’.”
It’s an extra burden that Dot doesn’t need, given the hugely stressful problems she’s had over Bill’s medical insurance.
For months she has also had to pay nearly £100 for a taxi each way so she can travel to see Bill and hold his hand even though, because of his condition, he has no idea she is even there.
HUGE MEDICAL BILLS
A travel insurance mix-up left her facing a £23,000 medical bill and without the funds needed to fly him back home to get the urgent respite care he needs.
The private hospital asked her to pay 20,094 euros – and a debt collection agency in England has already added an extra 4,000 euros in interest.
“My friend emailed them [the debt collectors] and said, ‘please don’t get in touch anymore as she is stranded in Tenerife’,” Dot added.
She said: “I’m so upset, and I want the public to be really aware when they take medical insurance out… it’s a terrible situation to be in.”
The insurance firm, Avanti, will pay for the first 24 hours in the private hospital and subsequent transfer between the hospitals, “but it won’t pay for anything else”, Dot explained.
“Bill had no underlying heart condition, but if you suffer a heart attack or a stroke, you’re not covered by medical insurance,” she said.
Dot explained that Bill had declared on the form that he had hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, which he was taking blood pressure tablets for, to keep it under control.
“He was really, really fit,” she said.
“I want the public to know if they suffer from hypertension and are on blood pressure tabs they will not be covered [if they have a heart attack or stroke].
“When Bill collapsed on November 14, the insurance firm wanted the last two years of his medical conditions – the GP said he had no underlying conditions.
“The only time you have an angiogram [X-ray to examine blood vessels] is if you have a fainting fit, or a stroke, and get referred – and get an angiogram.
“But Bill had no underlying heart conditions [so there was no need for an angiogram].”
‘NO UNDERLYING CONDITION’
Dot says that had Bill been aware of any medical issues, the couple definitely wouldn’t have risked a flight overseas, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic.
“There was no underlying heart complaint – because we wouldn’t have come out otherwise,” Dot said.
While at the private hospital, her husband had the angiogram, and a stent – a tiny tube inserted into a blocked passageway to keep it open – put in.
When Bill is eventually flown home it’ll be via air ambulance, and he’ll be hooked up to a breathing tube, and helped by a doctor and nurse from Tenerife to the UK.
After The Sun recently highlighted the couple’s plight, readers dug deep and donated an incredible £32,000 to get Bill home via a GoFundMe page.
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Dot said: “I’m very grateful to everyone who has contributed to this cause to get Bill home.
“I can’t thank enough the people I know – and the strangers who have helped to get Bill back home.”
She said her friends in Tenerife are determined to help her see Bill this week in the hospice, and speak to a doctor about his transfer home.