24-year old Natasha Hutchinson was enjoying a 6 month holiday backpacking around Thailand when she was caught up in a horrific moped accident in Phuket at the end of December, leaving her with serious leg injuries.
Forgetting to take out travel insurance prior to her trip, her medical bills and associated costs have seen her parents take on £35,000 (฿1.8 million) worth of credit card debt in order to meet her bills and get her back to the UK, reports the Daily Mail.
Natasha, an accountancy graduate from Maesteg, Wales, was left with a broken femur, a smashed kneecap, septicaemia and extensive blood and skin loss after the moped she was riding on the back of was hit by a truck driver.
While Thai doctors signed Natasha off as fit to fly back to the UK last week, she has been warned that she may not walk again for another 9 months and she is currently in a wheelchair as her injuries heal.
“It’s every parent’s worst nightmare,” described her mother, Michelle Lucas.
“Natasha’s completely devastated. She set out for the adventure of a lifetime, and ended up nearly losing her leg thousands of miles from home. It’s so dangerous – Brits go to Thailand and think nothing of jumping on mopeds and doing things they’d never do at home.”
Natasha’s accident came just 2 months into her planned 6 month sojourn around the Kingdom.
Mrs Lucas and her police officer husband flew out to Natasha’s bedside shortly after the crash at the beginning of this year to provide support and to pay for her mounting hospital bills. A GoFundMe page was set up by one of Natasha’s friends to help alleviate some of the costs and, so far, over £8,500 has been raised by 401 people in the last 29 days.
Additional costs had to be put on her parents’ credit cards too: the return costs for Mrs Lucas and her husband to fly out quickly to Natasha totalled around £2,000 while a first class flight back to the UK for Natasha – who was reportedly too frail to fly economy – reached £3,000.
While Mrs Lucas said they were initially furious that Natasha had forgotten to get travel insurance, they attributed it to her understandable excitement at going on such a highly-anticipated trip.
“This was her gap-year between graduating and getting a job, and she couldn’t wait to let her hair down.
“We’re in a desperate situation and hope that people will sympathise with the situation,” Mrs Lucas continued.
“It’s cost an arm and a leg and Natasha has a long recovery ahead of her. But as long as she is safe, that’s all that matters.”
You can contribute towards Natasha’s medical costs on her GoFundMe page here.