The family of a holidaymaker who died after collapsing in Egyptian desert claimed doctors turned off his life support because a mix up with his travel insurance meant they could not pay for his care. Adrian King 39 years old had been on a fortnight break with a female friend to Red Sea resort of Hurghada when he fell seriously ill on a camel tour. He was rushed to hospital, where doctors diagnosed kidney failure. Mr King fell into a coma and was put on a life support machine. He was initially given dialysis but medics later allegedly stopped treating Mr King after telling his friend, Nicola Wright 34 years old that his insurance was invalid.
It later transpired that Mr King had failed to declare he had been hospitalised with a bout of peritonitis, a bacterial infection of stomach, 2 years earlier, which had nullified his cover. Mr King’s father, Charles Bumford 59 years old said to an inquest that they contacted the British consulate 50 times while his son was in hospital but no-one came to help. He said ‘A man at the hospital stood in my son’s room and told me ‘the insurance is null and void, you pay now or I switch off the machines. I didn’t have the £7,000 he was asking for at that time. As he walked out of the room he started switching things off. I cannot believe that the British Consulate cannot do more for a British citizen. They were contacted 50 times, we were just passed from pillar to post.’
Andrew Haigh, senior coroner for South Staffordshire, revealed the Egyptian Hospital, in Hurghada, had refused to respond to his requests for information. It emerged there were no detailed notes about Mr King’s care for 5 days up to his death on May 29 last year. Inquest heard medics had written Mr King that suffered a cardiac arrest in their notes, but this was disputed by Nicola Wright. Recording a narrative verdict, Mr Haigh said Mr King, who was unemployed, died as a result of kidney failure combined with his collapse, followed by limited medical treatment. He said he would be sending a report to Foreign Office, saying ‘There is the potential there could be further casualties.’
Stephan Kruper, an intensive care consultant at Royal Stoke University Hospital, who was asked by coroner to review Mr King’s medical notes told they revealed he had a ‘cardiac arrest’ on May 24, but his family dispute that.
Mr King’s heartbroken mother, Elaine Huxley 58 years old a shop worker from Stafford, told ‘We got a letter from the insurance company saying the policy was void because Adrian had failed to declare he had been in hospital in 2015 with peritonitis. It is sickening that doctors could stop treating him as a result of the insurance payment being stopped on a technicality.’
Miss Wright 34 years old of Newcastle-Under-Lyme, Staffs, said to the court that she and Mr King flew to Hurghada on May 15 last year and booked an organised quad bike and camel riding tour into the desert for 3 days later. She told they were picked up from their hotel at 8:45 Am, but by midday Mr King was feeling unwell.
She said ‘It was baking hot. There was a tap at the shack and we were pouring water all over us to cool us down. That is when Adrian first said ‘I don’t feel very well, I feel sick, can you get a taxi?’ There was no way you could get a car up there – we were in the desert. It was when he said ‘I don’t want to ride the camel’ that I knew something wasn’t right.’
Miss Wright told to Mr King, of Stafford, fell unconscious and was taken in a van to the local hospital. But she told they spoke little English. She continued ‘They did the second dialysis and then said that the insurance was voided. They never said he had a cardiac arrest or anything, they said it was stopping, because the funding was stopped. That’s when they said they wouldn’t do anymore dialysis and from there he passed away. I didn’t trust the hospital, I didn’t trust them at all. They were fraudulent. The insurance was paying for me to stay in a hotel right by the hospital but the man at the hospital said ‘we can make you a room up here, tell the insurance company you are poorly with something they will definitely cover.’ I didn’t take it. Adrian smiled at me a few days in and the doctor saw that. He was improving, this is when they didn’t know the insurance was voided.’
The coroner told no post mortem had been carried out because Egyptian authorities were able to provide a cause of death.