A desperately-ill British mum stuck in Turkey cannot get lifesaving treatment until her family pays up – with time running out to help her.
Breast cancer survivor Carole Fleming, 67, is currently being given regular blood transfusions to keep her alive as her immune system attacks her body, but her condition is worsening.
Treatment for the blood disorder she is suffering from will cost £10,000 per day, with medical bills already piling up – prompting Carole’s distraught brother to launch a fundraising campaign.
Ian Fleming, 55, told Mirror Online: “They’re just keeping her alive, but if she can’t have the treatment they’re going to declare that there’s no hope.”
Carole, who lives in Stockport, went on holiday to Turkey with daughter Stephanie, 36, and son-in-law Alper last month.
She was rushed to hospital after she collapsed on August 16, and since then the cost of her treatment has spiralled by £1,000 a day.
Initially medics in Muğla, where Carole is in intensive care, thought that hormone tablets linked to her breast cancer treatment could be to blame – invalidating her insurance.
They now believe she will need a bone marrow transplant as her platelet levels are dangerously low.
Carole was given the all-clear in March, and blood tests carried out since confirmed that she was healthy enough to travel, Ian said.
“The insurers have said they can’t cover her as it’s linked to a previous condition,” he stated.
“We’re desperate, we’ve all put money in and it’s getting more and desperate as she’s getting more and more ill.
“Our family can’t raise that kind of cash ourselves.
“The Turkish doctors are desperate to start her treatment because they know they’ll save her life.”
The family had hoped to bring Carole back to the UK on a flight, but medics say this is no longer possible.
“The doctors will not clear her to leave the hospital until she’s had some of this treatment,” Ian said.
“She’s at risk of death if she flies.
“They’re waiting for us to say ‘please start the treatment’. It’s a crazy situation.”
Fighting back tears, Ian said: “To be in this position where your right to pay is governed by your ability to pay, it just shows how lucky we are in this country to have the NHS.”
Stephanie said she’s been told by the British Consulate that they cannot repatriate her while she is still alive.
It means they’re faced with trying to raise cash for a commercial Air Ambulance to bring her back to the UK for NHS treatment.
In a plea on the family’s GoFundMe appeal, Stephanie wrote: “We need to get her back home to the wonderful care of our precious NHS, but without Medical Repatriation via a commercial Air Ambulance Service, her Turkish doctors, wisely, cannot sign her out of care to fly.
“The lowest quote we have for this cost is £25,000.
“The British consulate, both here in Turkey and back in London can not help us. If she dies, they will repatriate, but not whilst ill … alive.
“We have now spent all our savings and are stranded in Turkey without funds to cover the rising high cost of her life saving treatment … treatment she would receive for free on the NHS.
“The dire, grim outlook we face is that she remains here, untreated due to costs … and dies.”