A FAMILY had a holiday from hell when the father, daughter and grandad were all separately hospitalised — racking up a £21,000 medical bill.
Dominic Pitter, 36, and wife Emily, 42, splashed out £9,000 on a dream trip to a five-star holiday on Jamaica’s west coast.
But on the second day Dominic suffered a perforated bowel after eating lunch and was rushed to hospital for emergency surgery — racking up a £16,000 bill.
And while he was recovering, his daughter Amelia, 12, was hospitalised with acute gastroenteritis and dehydration and put on a drip.
Dominic’s dad Len, 66, then flew 4,800 miles to Jamaica to be by his son’s bedside — but suffered a heart attack when snorkelling.
He was admitted to the same hospital his son had been discharged from three days earlier, racked up nearly £4,600 in medical bills and had to extend his stay by a month before he was well enough to fly.
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.
Maths teacher Emily, from Derby, said: ‘What we hoped would be a well-earned holiday of a lifetime in paradise ended up being any family’s 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.’
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 Dominic 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 around £16,000 for a doctor’s appointment, medication and the operation upfront on three credit cards.
The payment from their insurance was delayed because Dominic needed to give consent due to data protection laws — but he was not in a fit state.
Emily had to leave him and return to the girls — but claims staff at the hospital refused to give updates on Dominic’s condition over the phone.
Emily, a secondary school teacher, said: ‘We were excited to be arriving at such a nice hotel.
‘The children had never been to Jamaica but Dominic’s father was born there so we wanted to 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.
‘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 eldest daughter Amelia, 12, was put on a drip in the hotel for a night after being diagnosed with acute gastroenteritis and dehydration — costing a further £920.
And then youngest Matilda, seven, started being sick and complaining about an upset stomach at the same time.
Dominic’s concerned father, Len, 66, and mum Helena, 69, flew over from the UK to help the family, and the dad-of-two was released from hospital after 12 days.
Len and Helena 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.
Emily 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 the capital Kingston to have an angioplasty — a procedure which 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.
It meant he and Helena had to stay in the country until September 2 while the others flew back to the UK.
Dominic is now recovering at home.
Emily 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.’