Australian on life support after Koh Samui hit and run

Ben French's medical expenses are not covered by his insurance. (Supplied)
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Perth man Benjamin French critical after suspected hit and run on Koh Samui

A Perth man is on life support in a Thai hospital after being injured in what his family believes was a hit and run on the resort island of Koh Samui in Thailand

A Perth man is fighting for his life in a Thai hospital after being injured in what his family believes was a hit and run on the resort island of Koh Samui.

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Benjamin French, 36, was on the island for a friend’s wedding, when it is believed he was hit by a car while riding a moped.

His sister Kirsty French said it appeared to be a hit and run.

“It appears that way. He was found at four o’clock in the morning — someone rang to call an ambulance and they turned up there was no-one there so they’re finding that very suspicious,” Ms French said.

‘He has already died twice’

She said her brother’s injuries were extensive.

“He is currently in a coma. He has all his ribs broken, he has punctured lungs, a broken spinal cord in four places, several brain injuries and he has already died twice,” she said.

Ms French said her parents were at her brother’s bedside, and were working with authorities to try to piece together what happened together — but so far there were no suspects.

“Yesterday my Dad and his friend who’s there were at the police station doing a police report and that’s as far as we’ve got,” she said.

“They said they [the police] have been absolutely brilliant.

“The Australian consulate has also been popping over and seeing my Mum as much as she can, giving her advice.

“Mum said she can’t fault anyone. Everyone has been great.”

Lack of bike licence invalidates insurance: family

Ms French said her brother was not covered under his insurance as he did not have an Australian bike licence.

The same insurance issue has caught out other Australians in the past, leaving them with hefty medical bills.

“The hospital bills are about $20,000-plus a day because he is having to have CT scans, he’s had a few brain surgeries and he is on life support,” she said.

Kirsty French stands in a garden with trees in the background.
Kirsty French says she is hoping Ben can be transferred to an Australian hospital. (ABC News: Alisha O’Flaherty.)

The family is trying to get the funds to transfer Mr French to a local hospital.

“Once his brain stabilises and the swelling goes down, we can get him back to Perth via Medivac but that is about $100,000,” she said.

A GoFundMe Page has been set up to help the family meet rising hospital care expenses, with Ms French saying the support from strangers and the local community has been overwhelming.

“In 24 hours [it has raised] $47,000. We need to reach about $300,000. There’s extensive costs,” she said.

“HE IS SUCH A LOVED MAN. PROBABLY ONE OF THE NICEST YOU’LL EVER MEET AND THAT IS REALLY SHINING THROUGH AT THE MOMENT.

“All his Fremantle friends are really rallying behind him. It’s very heartwarming.”

Mr French owns a food truck in Fremantle, and a concert and fundraiser with other food trucks is being held on Monday in the hope of raising the rest of the money the family needs. – RadioAustralia



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