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Simon Mottershead lived through every traveller’s nightmare when he was stuck overseas and saddled with a huge medical bill.
He returned home to Plettenberg Bay last week after he was injured and forced to remain in the Dominican Republic for five months until arrangements for the payment of his steep medical bill could be made.
Mottershead, 34, was involved in a motorbike accident, which killed his colleague who was also on the bike. His hospital bill amounted to R180 000 and he was given six months to pay this through an agreement with the hospital.
“It’s only starting to sink in now that I’m back home. After the five months of hell, I realised waiting for the insurance company to pay out could never happen and then I would be left over there barely surviving,” he said.
Mottershead left SA to travel to South America in April 2011 with a promise of a job, but this never materialised.
“I went to the Dominican Republic, where I took up a diving instructor course. I got my diving qualification, but three weeks later I was involved in a motorbike accident.
“I was returning from the dive centre on a colleague’s motorbike when we were hit by a car on the wrong side of the road. My colleague was killed and I was sent to hospital with a fractured hip, a broken femur and fractured tibia on my left leg,” he said.
Last week, an excited Mottershead was able to fly back to his parents home in Plettenberg Bay: “The money I received was just enough to cover my return. I still have the big hospital bill hanging over my head, but I’m hoping the insurance company pays out by then because I am grateful to the hospital staff who were able to save my life,” he said.
He signed a contract with the hospital in the Dominican Republic which stated that he would have to pay the full amount of the medical bill within the next two months.
Mottershead said he was requested to provide the hospital with an affidavit from a police station in SA to prove that he was unemployed.
Mottershead’s father, Malcolm Mottershead describes his son’s journey to the Dominican Republic as a chain of disastrous events from the time he left the country.
“We were lucky to have been able to give what we could so far. We decided as a family to fund him from month to month.”
When Mottershead approached the SA embassy in Puerto Rico he was told that because he had no travel insurance they couldn’t help him. - Cape Times