Abby Hartley had just finished FaceTiming with her family on the first day of her Bali holiday when she was crippled with pain. Now she is fighting f
Abby Hartley had just finished FaceTiming with her family on the first day of her Bali holiday when she was crippled with pain.
Now she is fighting for her life due to complications following emergency surgery to remove a section of her bowel – and her family also has $75k in bills to consider after insurance cover was declined.
Hartley landed on the tropical island on August 1 with her husband, Richard, for their first trip without their children Sophie and Toby. However, the holiday took a turn for the worse when Hartley fell ill the same day.
Their son, Toby, said they had just finished FaceTiming each other when his mum took ill.
She was rushed to ICU in the Nusa Dua hospital, where doctors eventually discovered she had a twisted bowel. She had surgery and a section of the bowel was successfully removed, but 48 hours later she suffered acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).
Doctors then put Hartley, from Hamilton, into an induced coma to stabilise her oxygen intake. Her condition deteriorated further: Hartley developed a severe infection, she had fluid on her lungs and one had collapsed. Septicemia followed.
It was then Richard told Sophie and Toby that “things weren’t looking too good and mum needed all the support she could get”.
He told them to get on the first flight to Bali.
Toby said the situation was hard on the family, who moved to New Zealand from England in 2005
“We find that people reading this can think how it may be for us but until you’re actually in the situation where you’re talking to your mum who is in an induced coma and really fighting for her life you realise how hard it really is.
“We have our moments where we cry, whether it be to each other or over the phone to people at home but we try to keep mum’s room a positive space.
“We are currently booked into a hotel about 20 minute drive to the hospital but dad spends most of his nights on the couch at the hospital and us kids go back to the hotel.”
To make matters worse, their insurance company had declined to cover any medical costs, leaving the family to pick up the tab that included 24/7 care, observation and medication, they said. Their bill had already hit $75,000.
“The insurance company did not cover the medical costs as they say it was a pre existing medical condition,” Toby said. He says the septicemia “came out of nowhere”.
Hartley continues to have complications with her blood pressure being dangerously low, a high heart rate and she has required a blood transfusion.
“This has all had a massive impact on everyone – us, mum, family and friends from both England and NZ. We are absolutely exhausted physically and mentally all the time, we get good news from the doctors but every time it has come with more bad news,” Toby said.
“We have a tiling business at home which is very hard to run while we are in Bali with more important priorities and mum is a key part of our business.
“Sophie has a job working with people with disabilities in Hamilton that she has had to leave for however long she will be here for. Luckily her work is very understanding and empathetic.”
But there were signs Hartley was fighting, Sophie said.
“We can all tell she is trying very hard to fight all problems that are thrown her way. She is showing signs that she aware we are there for her by very small fluttering of eyelids when we talk to her or stroke her hair.”
The family’s main concern now is the septicemia. “Where there is bacteria in her blood and it is spreading an infection all through her veins – in most cases where the bacteria is located that part of the body gets amputated but in mums case it has spread everywhere,” he said.
“A full recovery is sadly not guaranteed. She is on a very expensive 14 day course of antibiotics which will hopefully get her white blood cells fighting the septicemia – with this condition the antibiotics are the last thing the doctors can try.”
Even if the antibiotics worked, it wasn’t known how long Hartley would have to stay in hospital.
“If we can we would like to get her back to NZ so her family and friends there can be with her and support her through the remaining recovery,” Toby said.
A givealittle page has been set up to go towards medical costs for the family.
The family say they won’t reveal the insurance company they used.