A couple’s vacation to Jamaica began as a dream and descended into a nightmare after the pair fell off of an ATV, resulting in severe injuries for Heidi Pugsley. Ms. Pugsley sustained two breaks in her leg and three in her wrist after she and her partner, Cerys Atterbury, fell from the ATV. The injuries have made it nearly impossible for the couple to travel home, and Ms. Pugsley is currently bed-ridden and in severe pain. The couple claims to have taken out a travel insurance policy that covered dangerous activities but says the company is disputing coverage for the accident.
Due to the dispute with the travel insurance company, the couple is currently on the hook for £8,000 GBP for Ms. Pugsley’s initial treatment at a Jamaican hospital and the cost of new flights home. The couple is desperate to return home to Wales in order for Ms. Pugsley to receive a leg operation needed for her recovery. “On Wednesday, doctors told her she needs to get home urgently,” Ms. Atterbury said. “[They said] ‘you need an operation – the longer you leave it, the more serious it will get.'”
Ms. Pugsley is a cancer survivor and only recently recovered. Being bed-ridden, she has a higher risk of blood clots, which has only heightened the couple’s worry. Ms. Atterbury called the experience at the Jamaican hospital “eye-opening.” She claimed that she had to aid in the application of the plaster cast on Ms. Pugsley’s broken leg. They are anxious to get back to Wales as soon as possible to receive the full care that Ms. Pugsley needs.
The pair feels isolated and on their own, calling the situation a massive devastation. Ms. Atterbury has said the couple tried contacting the British embassy but were told that the embassy could not do anything to aid them. Out of desperation, the couple is attempting to appeal to the internet community to aid them in their attempt to get home. “Unfortunately, we’ve had to set up a GoFundMe page… to try and get her the care she needs,” Ms. Atterbury said. She went on to say that in order to use a wheelchair at the hotel, they were asked to pay $400 USD.
When looking at the GoFundMe page set up for Ms. Pugsley, readers can tell how severe the matter is for the couple from the direct and desperate tone. They begin by pointing out that they did not want to set up a GoFundMe campaign but feel that they have been left with no other option. They say Ms. Pugsley requires an urgent operation that their travel insurance has told them is not covered. They conclude by saying, “once again, this is not what we want to do, but we have no other choice.”
While the travel insurance that the couple used remains unnamed, it is clear that travelers should be aware of the fine print of the policy that they choose for their trip. It’s unfortunate when insurance companies get out of the very reason they exist in the first place, and it is best to stick to highly-reputable travel insurance when possible. Travel insurance can be used to cover unexpected medical costs when abroad, as medical treatment while abroad can become very expensive.
There are many other benefits of travel insurance, such as trip cancellation coverage, trip delay benefits, baggage delay benefits, and many others. Many travel insurance companies have even added Covid-19 care to their offerings which cover things like medical care, quarantine accommodation insurance, and even Covid tests in some cases. Even though Jamaica recently got rid of many Covid requirements for visitors, the virus is still here, making trustworthy travel insurance a must.
In the case of Heidi Pugsley and Cerys Atterbury, it remains to be seen whether they will win the dispute with their travel insurance company. For now, they remain on their own. “We’re basically stuck out here, trying to get the next flight we possibly can home,” said Ms. Atterbury. “We’ve literally been left to fend for ourselves.”
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