Woman who almost died on dream holiday is left with £30,000 bill

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  • Juliet Thomas, 50, from Sychdyn, Flintshire, collapsed just four days into her trip
  • She needed a blood transfusion and an operation to remove a tumour on kidney
  • Was airlifted from Cape Verde to Tenerife and spent weeks in intensive care
  • But insurer AXA say they won’t pay £30,000 bill because she did not tell them she was taking sleeping pills for her insomnia when she took out her policy

Keiligh Baker for MailOnline

A woman who nearly died of organ failure while on a dream holiday in Cape Verde has been left with a £30,000 medical bill because she had not informed her insurer she was taking sleeping pills.

Juliet Thomas, 50, from Sychdyn, Flintshire, collapsed just four days into her trip and needed a blood transfusion and an emergency operation to remove a benign tumour from her kidney, which was causing internal bleeding and nearly led to organ failure. 

She underwent the transfusion in Cape Verde, off the coast of north west Africa, before she was airlifted to Tenerife for the emergency operation, where she stayed for several weeks as she recovered. 

Juliet Thomas, 50, from Sychdyn, Flintshire, collapsed just four days into her trip and needed a blood transfusion and an emergency operation to remove a benign tumour from her kidney

Juliet Thomas, 50, from Sychdyn, Flintshire, collapsed just four days into her trip and needed a blood transfusion and an emergency operation to remove a benign tumour from her kidney

Juliet Thomas, 50, from Sychdyn, Flintshire, collapsed just four days into her trip and needed a blood transfusion and an emergency operation to remove a benign tumour from her kidney

The council worker, who had never previously had any serious health problems or kidney issues, was in intensive care when her family were told insurer AXA would not cover the cost of her treatment – because she had not revealed she was taking sleeping pills.

But AXA say the holiday insurance policy she had taken out was for people with no pre-existing conditions and who have not taken prescribed medication in the past five years. 

Ms Thomas told The Mirror: ‘It’s my life savings. I’m in tears constantly.

‘When I needed them most, they gave me a slap in the face.’   

She said that AXA paid around £12,500 of the £43,000 medical costs, leaving a balance of about £30,500.

An AXA spokesman said added: ‘We sympathise with Miss Thomas but the policy she purchased is designed for customers without recent medical conditions.’  

The council worker, who had never previously had any serious health problems or kidney issues, was in intensive care when her family were told insurer AXA would not cover the cost of her treatment because she had not revealed she was taking sleeping pills

The council worker, who had never previously had any serious health problems or kidney issues, was in intensive care when her family were told insurer AXA would not cover the cost of her treatment because she had not revealed she was taking sleeping pills

The council worker, who had never previously had any serious health problems or kidney issues, was in intensive care when her family were told insurer AXA would not cover the cost of her treatment because she had not revealed she was taking sleeping pills

AXA say the holiday insurance policy she had taken out was for people with no pre-existing conditions and who have not taken prescribed medication in the past five years

AXA say the holiday insurance policy she had taken out was for people with no pre-existing conditions and who have not taken prescribed medication in the past five years

AXA say the holiday insurance policy she had taken out was for people with no pre-existing conditions and who have not taken prescribed medication in the past five years

How to ensure you get the right travel insurance coverage

Have travel insurance in place as soon as your holiday is booked: cancellation cover is a major benefit of most policies.

Add-on policies offered by airlines and holiday companies can be overpriced: check for cheaper deals on moneysupermarket.com.

If you’ve got a pre-existing medical condition, the best starting point for finding affordable cover is price-comparison website medicaltravelcompared.co.uk.

Check that your European Health Insurance Card (ehic.org.uk) is up to date. Although it is not the same as travel insurance, the EHIC entitles you to state medical treatment on the same basis as locals (often for free or at reduced cost) across the EU and a few other European countries.

Moneysavingexpert.com has a useful guide to the current best insurance buys.

 

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