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Family seeks to raise $100,000 for uninsured widow’s life-saving hospital stay

Joyce Kettle needed emergency heart treatment in Mexico after falling ill during a cruise.

An uninsured great-grandmother who fell ill on a cruise ship has returned to the UK after a life-saving stay in a Mexican hospital – with a medical bill of more than $100,000.

Joyce Kettle, 74, flew home on Wednesday but needed an overnight stay in hospital in Cramlington, Northumberland, after coming down with a stomach condition.

She first fell ill while cruising on board the Marella Discovery II near Cancun last Monday and required emergency heart treatment after suffering breathing difficulties.

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Joyce Kettle illness

The widow thought she had travel insurance through her bank but the policy only covered her for European trips.

Daughter Leanne Kettle and her partner, Les Chrisp, flew out to Mexico to accompany Mrs Kettle on the trip home.

Mr Chrisp said the final hospital bill stands at $102,966.91 – more than £73,000 – and the family have started an online fundraiser to try to cover the costs.

The GetJoyceHome gofundme page has raised more than £14,200.

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Great-grandmother left with holiday medical bills

He said: “We’re obviously going to do everything we can to try to repay them but they are aware it’s a massive figure for the family.

“They saved her life so we will be doing everything we can to repay them.”

Mrs Kettle, who has three children and is from Blyth, Northumberland, was travelling with a friend who paid for the cruise as a Christmas present.

Her family have thanked well-wishers for their support, which has included people from outside the UK as her story went around the world.

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