The Aussie woman who was left in a coma after a devastating freak accident while she was holidaying in Thailand has since been medically evacuated to Australia, thanks to donations from kind strangers. The woman’s travel insurance refused to cover the medical expenses that resulted from treating her injury because it alleges she was drunk — a fact her husband refutes.
On Friday, NSW woman Kylee Enwright finally began the journey home from the Phuket hospital she had been receiving care in since late May.
She was placed in a hospital bed in the back of a commercial airplane, where she was sedated and attached to a breathing tube.
The journey was precarious given her fragile condition — Kylee has remained mostly unconscious since she was injured.
“She’s got no skull on one side of her head, so one small movement the wrong way and we could be right back where we started the first time,” her husband Paul told 7NEWS.
“You can see the pain in her eyes, you can see the frustration. She wants you to help her and, for her own safety, I can’t.”
Kylee was only able to be transferred to Australia thanks to Paul’s GoFundMe page, which pleaded for Aussies to donate so the family could afford the roughly $200,000 it would cost them to bring her home.
While Kylee’s injuries indicate serious brain injury, Paul has remained hopeful.
“I have got no idea what the future holds for us, I am crossing my fingers that once we get back to Australia the treatment will start to begin and she can heal,” he said on Friday just before the journey.
“She is a powerhouse and fighter. There is not much that stops her. If she wants to do something she will do it.”
The family had to resort to crowdfunding after Kylee’s travel insurance Cover-More ruled that she was drunk enough to void its coverage — despite no formal documents to prove her blood alcohol.
“They’ve just estimated her weight against her height, which weren’t actually taken at the hospitals,” Paul said, per 7News.
ICYMI, Kylee was enjoying her first day of a two-week long Phuket holiday with her husband Paul when footage caught her fall face-first from a patio onto a footpath after it appeared she mistook a 50cm-high timber walkway for stairs.
Paul said Kylee was “knocked instantly unconscious” and was bleeding from her ears, per The Newcastle News.
More than 10 days later, Kylee had not woken up, and her medical bills were piling up — bills that the couple’s travel insurance will not pay because it determined, via CCTV footage and scrutinising the couple’s bar tabs, that she was drunk enough to void her coverage.
Speaking to The Newcastle News earlier this week, Paul Enwright said he had no idea their insurance with Cover-More had an alcohol clause which would see them lose coverage if they got too drunk. He admits he didn’t read the fine print.
Paul said he was told by the insurance company’s agents that investigators used footage of Kylee walking just before the accident, as well as their hotel bill (nine Long Island iced teas ordered to their room) and a guesstimation of Kylee’s weight to determine she could have had a blood-alcohol level of 0.35, which is above Cover-More’s threshold of 0.19, and which would consider her “unconscious”.
However, Paul told A Current Affair that the couple’s bar tab was left open when they rushed Kylee to hospital.
He said it was possible drinks were added to it afterwards — at the very least, he didn’t think Kylee was super drunk — and he noted that there had been wet weather that day, the footpath had been slippery, and there was no handrail. He even shared footage of her slipping earlier that day to prove his point.
“I’m not going to deny we had drinks,” Paul said.
“I don’t think she had drunk an excessive amount.”
Choice travel insurance expert Jodi Bird referred to the insurance company’s evidence against Kylee as “circumstantial”, per ACA.
FYI, Kylee’s blood-alcohol was not taken by doctors when she was rushed to hospital, so there’s no actual documents which confirm the numbers the insurance calculated.
“We had just got here, we have had a rough few years with the pandemic and our business and were here to enjoy ourselves,” Paul told The Newcastle News earlier this week.
“Yes, we had a few drinks when the pool bar opened. We were about to go and get changed and head out for dinner when Kylee said she needed to go to the toilet.”
The lack of insurance coverage devastated Kylee’s family, who had to come up with hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay her hospital bills and have her medically evacuated to Australia.
When Kylee was first rushed to hospital, Paul was asked to pay 500,000 baht (AUD$21,532) up front. He managed to pay 300,000 baht (AUD$12,922) which was enough for the surgery to go ahead.
Earlier this month, Paul said Kylee’s medical bills had reached $50,000 and were growing by about $5000 a day at the Phuket hotel she was being cared for in. He was also quoted $200,000 upfront to have her medically evacuated to Australia, which he was luckily since been able to pay thanks to kind GoFundMe donors.
“I just want to get her back to Australia. I don’t care where in Australia, just as long as Kylee is being treated in our health system,” he said at the time.
“I don’t know where to run or what to do.
“We have been to Thailand many times but we obviously didn’t know the system – you take out travel insurance thinking you are covered whatever happens overseas.
“But that is not the case.”
A Cover-More spokesperson said the company won’t comment on Kylee’s case due to privacy reasons, but insisted its process is “fair and reasonable”.
“Cover-More is fair and reasonable in our claims processes, and we make our decisions after thoroughly assessing all available details and medical information,” a spokesman said in a statement.
“We gave Kylee’s husband, Paul, a detailed and transparent explanation for declining this claim.
“This is a sad case, and we will continue to offer Paul and Kylee and their families all the non-financial assistance Cover-More can.
“This includes help with arranging repatriation to Australia, assisting with hospital admissions and a ground ambulance in Australia, travel arrangements and making appointments with local medical practitioners overseas or in Australia.”
Image: GoFundMe / Paul Enwright, A Current Affair