Diana James is in a hospital in Portugal after suffering from a subdural hematoma while on vacation
A grandmother from Vancouver has suffered a serious medical crisis overseas, and her family is raising money in an effort to bring her home for her extended care.
Diana James, 71, suffered a subdural hematoma in May and is in a coma in a hospital in Portugal.
Her children, Megan Kunze and Matthew Oxley, have traveled to Portugal to be by her side and facilitate her care. They are seeking funding to bring their mom home via medical transport, and to raise awareness on how people can protect themselves while traveling abroad.
The cost to transfer a patient in Diana James’ condition via medical transport flight is more than $200,000. The family has opened a GoFundMe account: https://gofund.me/a700cd3c
Diana James worked several jobs while raising her children as a single mother. At 71, she was excited to go on her “once-in-a-lifetime” trip, as described by her children in a press release.
She left for Europe from Portland International Airport on Mother’s Day. After some stressful travel-related difficulties, she noted she had a headache as she arrived in Portugal. Soon after, she lost consciousness as the result of a subdural hematoma and was taken to a hospital in Braga, Portugal, for an emergency procedure. Doctors performed a craniotomy, removing part of the skull to relieve pressure.
Doctors and family members say Diana has already beat odds stacked against her during this ordeal.
Last week, her eyes started to open. She gripped her daughter’s hand. And she responds to the tickling of her feet.
“Most importantly, she is now breathing on her own without ventilation,” according to an update on the GoFundMe page.
Her doctor in Vancouver and doctors in Braga say she needs time, as traumatic brain injuries require an unpredictable amount of time to heal. The family hopes that healing time can be done back home.
The family has limited experience with international travel. The family was unaware that travel medical insurance was an option. Diana is covered for medical by Medicare, the family said, but not medical transport back to America.
The U.S. government has told the family about a “small possibility of a government loan” to assist in the transport.
Diana’s family wants to get Diana home and educate the public on the benefits of travel insurance. The family, the press release said, is following every avenue for assistance.
As the name of the GoFundMe account says: Please Help Us Bring Diana James Home.
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