Northern Ireland family's relief as insurers agree to pay for bike crash son's treatment in Thailand
A Carrickfergus family who feared they might have to pay thousands of pounds towards their son's medical care after a horrific motorbike accident in Thailand say they are relieved that an insurance company has now pledged to pay out.
Carrick man Ross Davidson (23), who is in intensive care in Chiang Mai's Nakornping Hospital, has already undergone three operations and could face losing his right leg above the knee after last Friday's accident.
The former Carrickfergus Grammar pupil had spent two months backpacking around Thailand when the incident occurred. Yesterday, his parents Andrew and Desna flew out to be with him, and said both Ross's insurance companies had initially refused to meet the medical costs due to the type of bike Ross was riding.
"The accident happened last Friday, and Ross underwent three operations over the weekend," his aunt Marcia Armstrong said.
"Ross had been riding a moped-type motorbike, and we don't know exactly what happened, but we think the bike may have hit a pothole and he was thrown down the road.
"We think his leg was crushed by the bike - it is broken, and he has got plates in it, as well as an external frame. He was taken to ICU and put on a ventilator, and every time they clean his leg they have to operate.
"Unfortunately the damage to his leg has meant that there is muscle wasteage and damage to the bone, so the consultant may have to amputate above the knee.
"He is a very active boy, and if he has to have his leg amputated it will be life-changing for him."
Marcia says that the family's anguish was compounded by the initial refusal of Ross's insurance companies to pay out, meaning his parents were forced to delay their trip to see their severely ill son.
"One company refused straight away, and Barclays Travelplus, who his mum had also taken a policy out with just in case, also refused," Marcia continued.
"The family heard about the accident on Monday, but had to wait until yesterday to travel as they were trying to sort out insurance and had to borrow £4,000 for their flights. That's a wait of four days to be with Ross."
Yesterday, Barclays confirmed that it would cover Ross's claim "in full" and his dad Andrew said the company was considering moving him to Bangkok for a second medical opinion.
Cautiously welcoming the gesture, Marcia said that the family would now use the £6,000 raised via a Crowdfunding appeal by family friend Sandra McCullough to support Ross and his parents.
"If this means that they will fully cover Ross's medical bills, it will come as a huge relief to his parents," Marcia said.
"But Ross has a long road ahead of him, and will have to have several adaptations made if his leg is amputated."