An Australian woman who may lose her leg after a grisly scooter accident in Thailand and is enduring squalid hospital conditions is now facing a bureaucratic nightmare just to get home.
Stacey Liddle, 30, from Kallangur, Brisbane, was riding a scooter on October 26 when she was hit by a bus, leaving her with catastrophic leg injuries.
She has since undergone three operations at the Vachira Phuket Hospital to repair her severely damaged leg and surgeons have warned she faces the prospect of amputation.
Ms Liddle and her mother Leanne have been trying to organise a medevac back to Brisbane – which would cost $32,000 – but were told yesterday the aircraft available could only fly to Sydney.
To compound the problem, the family has been told there are no available beds for Ms Liddle at Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, leaving the stretcher-bound woman with nowhere to go.
“We just got told RPA won’t accept Stacey because we come from Queensland, we’re not New South Wales residents,” Leanne Liddle told 9news.com.au from her daughter’s hospital bedside.
“Stacey’s already got the clear to fly, they’ve signed her off.
“They can’t leave her on the tarmac. Whether they can stabilise her enough and we can get her in some kind of chopper to get home, I don’t know, to Brisbane.
“The government just can’t leave her.”
While no hospital has yet agreed to take Ms Liddle, Australian embassy officials have advised her to board the flight back home nonetheless.
“Some hospital has to take her, even just for a few days while I organise a flight for her to come back to Brisbane,” Mrs Liddle said.
“They don’t have to keep her there, just hold her.
“They can’t leave her on the tarmac sitting on a stretcher bed in the airport, considering that’s our own country.”
Mrs Liddle said her daughter had undergone a third operation on Wednesday night as surgeons work to save her leg.
“She just went in for surgery last night because the back, her Achilles, has been cut as well so the heel started going black,” Leanne said.
“So they had to chop more at the back. She’s got no femur, she’s got no calf muscle, it’s like a big list.
“Her kneecap had to get sewed back on. All the tendons are gone, all the nerves are gone, all the veins are broken.
“If they can keep the leg, she’ll never be able to bend anything.”
Mrs Liddle said she was hesitant to be critical of another culture and praised the efforts of doctors, but detailed the filthy conditions inside the hospital.
She said animals walked freely through the hospital wards and said the family was worried about the risk of infection so soon after Ms Liddle’s surgery.
“It is terrible. Cats are in the ward, dogs are walking next to rats,” she said.
“I didn’t even imagine a hospital would be like that. I don’t think they’ve ever had a healthy surgery in here.
“Stacey’s a chronic asthmatic, we can’t even own a cat and there’s cats eating off the dinner trays when you take them to a table.
“At the moment a cat’s just lying on one of the beds asleep.
“There was a big rat walking through emergency last night when I was waiting for Stacey in surgery and no one even blinked an eye at it.”
Ms Liddle’s family and friends have been fundraising on a GoFundMe page to help cover the costs to get her home.
A German doctor, who came across Ms Liddle during an unrelated hospital visit and offered to help, has covered the cost of the flight but the family is still about $10,000 short of the cost to pay him back.
“He saw how distressed we were and I think he just felt bad for us because I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t know how I was getting home,” Leanne Liddle said.
Ms Liddle had saved for the trip to mark her 30th birthday for a year, but instead spent the milestone in her hospital bed.
“Two days later after the accident, she turned 30,” her mum said.
“I said she’ll never forget this birthday.
“I’m just glad she’s alive.”
Both mum and daughter thanked family, friends and strangers for their support.
“The kind words they’ve said to us, it’s just beautiful,” Leanne said.
“That’s what Stacey said. She can’t even imagine there is that much love in Australia from people.
“A lot them are all strangers we wouldn’t know from a bar of soap.” – Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2017
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