‘It’s horrific’: British couple trapped in Dubai due to £11,000 medical bill

The couple are stuck in Dubai (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
The couple are stuck in Dubai (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

A British couple have been left trapped in Dubai after unexpected medical issues left them with a bill allegedly totalling over £11,000.

Katriona White and her husband Mick, both 54, were on holiday in the UAE when Katriona fell ill, reports Manchester Evening News.

She has been left unable to walk, and the pair cannot fly back to India, where Mr White has been working as a football coach, until the medical bill is paid.

He claims that the hospital has also seized his passport.

The married couple say their insurance provider originally assured them that they were covered, but then said that a “technicality” – that their trip originated in India, rather than the UK – meant they would not be reimbursed for the costs.

Mr White says he has been paying £18 per month into the policy for the last 12 years, having never made a claim before.

“After two or three days, [Katriona] said she wasn’t feeling very well when she was in the shower,” Mr White told MEN. “She said she felt frozen up. All her hands had spasmed up”.

He said that the original medical checks cost £800, while the hospital told him that an overnight stay would cost £4,000.

He “didn’t have that kind of money”, so they checked into a hotel after Katriona was discharged with some tablets, with the doctors allegedly saying that “after three or four days she would be OK”.

On 23 May, Barclays called Mr White to tell him that the couple aren’t insured because their trip hadn’t started in the UK.

“I was just in shock, panicking,” he said. “They said as of now I wasn’t insured and I asked ‘for the whole bill?’, and they said ‘yes’. As far as the hospital was concerned, because I couldn’t pay the bill they were kicking us out.

“I was panicking and anxious for my wife’s health. She wasn’t fit to fly. She still can’t walk. She can’t feel her legs”.

After a few days in the hotel, Mrs White went to a second hospital after complaining of “feeling weak”. Doctors there told her she needed an MRI scan, though they are still unable to say for sure what has caused her health problems.

The couple are now staying at a £20-a-night hotel while they try and raise the funds to cover the outstanding debts. A gofundme page has been set up to help, with total money raised currently standing at £4,725.

Mr White went on to say that he wants “to get my wife back to England so that she can get some treatment and get her on the road to recovery.

“She’s struggling, I don’t mind saying. She can’t walk. She’s run out of medication. We just want to get her back to the UK to get her sorted out.

“We are at the end of our tether”.

Mrs White added: “It’s horrific. It’s really bad. I can’t believe I can’t walk. I honestly can’t believe it. I’m literally a disabled person”.

A Barclays spokesperson told The Independent: “Our travel insurance documents and the annual eligibility statements are very clear that all trips must start and end in the UK and last no longer than 31 days.

“We have carefully reviewed our customer’s case, and whilst we are very sympathetic to his position, unfortunately the trip could not be covered under the terms of our travel policy”.