Politics

Lanarkshire grandad left ‘trapped’ in Spanish hospital awaiting heart bypass surgery


A Scots grandad has been left “trapped” in a Spanish hospital awaiting heart bypass surgery as the family’s finances dwindle.

Pensioner Jim Murray travelled to Benidorm with wife Liz on April 21 for a two week sunshine break, but fell ill just days into their holiday.

The 71-year-old, from Uddingston, was admitted to the Hospital Clínica Benidorm intensive care unit after catching coronavirus and suffering a suspected mild heart attack.



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Despite having insurance, Liz was forced to pay more than £2500 upfront for an angiogram – an x-ray checking for blockages – as well as additional medical tests.

The grandad-of-two then developed a urine infection meaning a planned surgery to install stents in his heart had to be cancelled.

Medics later determined Jim would have to undergo bypass surgery and told his family he was too unwell to fly home to Scotland for the treatment.

But son Billy claims that the insurance company – Staysure – have allegedly received a report from Spanish doctors stating that he can be repatriated in an air ambulance.



Jim Murray remains at the Hospital Clínica Benidorm
Jim Murray remains at the Hospital Clínica Benidorm

The 48-year has hit out at the mixed messaging as his mum faces mounting costs after having to extend their hotel accommodation.

In a further blow, Jim and Liz were forced to miss their son’s wedding on May 6 after the hospital admission scuppered their plans to return home the day before it.

Billy, who has flown over to Benidorm to support his mum, said: “I flew over on Friday evening but I’ve only been able to see him once because he apparently tested positive for COVID again on Sunday.

“So they moved him again to a ward where no one could get in. But it was a false positive so he’s moved again.

“He seems healthy enough but he feels like a prisoner and he can’t get out. Only one person can go in to visit him at a time. They’re claiming that he’s really needing this surgery very, very urgently and is really unwell.



Jim and wife Liz during a previous trip to Benidorm
Jim and wife Liz during a previous trip to Benidorm

“Yet for the last two weeks he’s been in a room on his own and isn’t wired up to a heart monitor or anything. It’s very, very strange.

“He’s just really desperate to get home. It’s been four weeks since he was admitted to the hospital.

“The insurance company is clearly keen to get him home and to cover the repatriation costs.

“But if he gets the surgery here, they’ll have to pay for both. We’re just getting conflicting stories.

“The insurance company is saying they’ve had a report from a Spanish doctor here saying he is fit to fly on an air ambulance so they’re hoping to go down that road.

“But any doctor my mum has spoken to, and even the surgeon that’s going to perform the operation, has told her that he’s not fit to fly.

“So we don’t know what’s actually going on. It means he’s just stuck there in a bed. He says he feels fine and has no after effects. He’s obviously weak because he’s been bed ridden for a month.”

Billy fears the family are being “fleeced” after his mum was told to pay upfront for the initial tests despite having travel insurance.

He added: “My mum’s got limited finances and she’s having to renew her hotel stay every Thursday for another week.

“She’s already shelled out €6000 (£5138) for accommodation and the angiogram.

“Everyone that we talk to about this are asking how the hell this is still going on. Everyone’s come to the same opinion that he’s just being fleeced for money.”

And the concern for Jim turned to heartbreak after both his parents were forced to miss his wedding earlier this month due to the hospital admission and his mum also catching COVID.

Billy said: “I got married on May 6 and they were due back on the 5th but obviously that didn’t happen.

“My mother watched it on Whatsapp and it was obviously filmed. My dad didn’t want to watch it. He got the choice.

“The hospital was actually prepared to let my mum in that day with the full PPE but he didn’t want to. It was hard on my mum even watching.

“He just wants someone to get him out of there. But it’s as though no one will actually make the decision to say yes he can go.

“The insurance company has said that Monklands Hospital is ready to receive him but the air ambulance is not quite ready yet.”

Hospital Clínica Benidorm declined to comment.

A Staysure spokesman added: “Our medical services are doing everything they can to ensure Mr Murray gets the best medical care available.

“Special flight arrangement is currently being organised and, subject to final medical clearance, Mr Murray will be repatriated to the UK where a bed is being secured at a hospital close to home for continuation of treatment.

“We have been in touch with Mr Murray’s family and they are fully up to date with the arrangements.”

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