Ill Belfast man home from Thailand

Published Wednesday, 25 April 2012
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A gravely ill west Belfast man, who was left stranded in Thailand after suffering a brain haemorrhage last month, has been flown home for treatment.

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Francis McDonald had been visiting his son when he took ill.

The 56-year-old spent three weeks in hospital but when he couldn't pay his medical bills because he had no travel insurance, he was forced to leave.

However, the school in which his son teaches in Bangkok has offered to act as guarantor for the money and Francis was allowed to travel home for treatment in the Royal Victoria Hospital.

"It's all down to the school we have him here home," Francis' other son Kevin, who lives in west Belfast, told UTV on Wednesday evening.

He's in a proper hospital and he's got the best people around him. His family is here and were just happy to have him home.

Kevin McDonald

"Frankie's school went guarantor and we loaded the platelets into him and the hospital gave him permission to fly him home so we flew him into Dublin today.

"We got in at about a quarter past 12 and then me and my cousin Michelle and Frankie drove with my daddy up to the Royal Hospital and he's there at the minute."

Francis McDonald suffered the blood clot in his brain after he flew out to Thailand last March.

He was treated in intensive care but was discharged after three weeks when he couldn't pay his medical bills - his son Frankie then looked after him in his Bangkok flat.

The family had been trying to raise money for a transfusion of blood platelets to enable Mr McDonald to fly home, which was made possible this week.

Kevin McDonald said he is relieved to have his father home but is still fearful for his condition.

"It's a big relief to get him home, sitting at home. Seeing Frankie on Skype and seeing my daddy deteriorate on Skye ... this is the best move we had to make to get him home," he said.

"He's not too good to be honest, but seeing him today and being in the car with him on the journey up, we just have to hope that the because the right medical stuff is there in the Royal Victoria Hospital and they will do what they can."

© UTV News
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