City man told he can’t fly home until hospital bill is paid

Allan with sons Christopher and Jordan.
Allan with sons Christopher and Jordan.
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A DREAM holiday has turned into a nightmare for a city man who has been left stranded overseas while he struggles to raise the money to pay for an emergency lifesaving operation.

Paul Mackie, of Wester Hailes, ignored warnings from his father Allan to buy health insurance before they jetted off to Marmaris on the south coast of Turkey.

Paul Mackie

Paul Mackie

Paul, 30, had to be rushed into a private hospital halfway through the break to be treated for burst stomach ulcers.

Allan and his other sons, 18-year-old Jordan and 22-year-old Christopher, have since returned to Edinburgh, leaving Paul on the Mediterranean coast.

He was discharged from hospital on Friday after a week, but has been told he will not be allowed to leave the country until at least a down payment on the bill is made.

Before going on holiday, Paul had been to his doctor complaining of stomach pains. He was given tablets but was never diagnosed with ulcers.

But after he became crippled with pain on Friday last week, it became clear something was wrong.

“We were nine days into the holiday. All of a sudden Paul was in extreme pain,” Allan said. “We had to get the doctor out to the room. He thought it was cramps from the heat or something. Then they put him on a drip to see if that would ease it and gave him painkillers.”

With no sign of improvement an ambulance was called, and after arriving at hospital Paul was diagnosed with burst ulcers and underwent keyhole surgery. At first he was told he faced an £11,000 bill for the treatment, although after discussions with management at the hospital the fee could be reduced to around £5500.

He hopes to mount a fundraising campaign from his Turkish hotel room over the internet, while back home in Wester Hailes, his friends are to organise a race night to add to the fund.

Allan added: “I told him half a dozen to a dozen times ‘make sure you get insurance’. You can get it for seven quid or something.

“He said ‘I’ll be fine, I’ve been away 11 times and nothing has happened to me’. You can’t argue, they know better.

“We’ve gone out on holiday and binged a couple of nights, as you do, and it’s affected his ulcer. That sort of thing can kill you. It’s a lot better at the end of the day that they saved his life, but it’s still a lot of money. We don’t have that type of cash.”

The race night to raise money for Paul will take place at the Prison Officers’ Club, in Longstone Road, on Friday from 7pm.