Appeal to raise £40, 000 to bring stricken Doncaster grandfather home from Cyprus hospital

Doncaster man Stephen Harper.
Doncaster man Stephen Harper.
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A desperate appeal has been launched to raise £40, 000 to fly a Doncaster grandfather-of-nine home who is stranded in a Cyprus hospital after falling into a coma.

Heartbroken family members need to bring Stephen Harper home after he suffered a heart attack and then fell unconscious a month ago on the Mediterranean holiday island.

Gemma Stott.

Gemma Stott.

Relatives say he has not woken up in the last four weeks and doctors want to move him out of the hospital and into a care facility.

The family instead wants to bring him home - but they have been advised by medics that it will cost up to £40, 000 to fly him back to the UK in a specially-adapted plane with a team of medical staff.

However, they claim the travel insurance company Mr Harper took a policy with before travelling is refusing to foot the bill.

Relatives are now desperately appealing for members of the public to donate to their 'Bring Stephen Home Fund'.

Daughter Gemma Stott, aged 31, said: "It is horrendous, we can't believe this has happened. We hate the thought of him being stranded over there thousands of miles away. We just want to get him home."

Mr Harper, aged 61, and his wife Eileen, aged 57, both of Toll Bar, had flown out to Cyprus on May 1 to visit their son Clint and his wife Ann-Marie who live on the island with their three children.

But just hours after landing he complained about chest pains and was taken to Nicosia Hospital where he suffered a heart attack while undergoing surgery. He then fell into a coma and has not woken up since.

About a month prior to flying he he had fallen ill with chest pains and was taken to Doncaster Royal Infirmary.

He was treated for pericarditis - fluid in the sac around the heart - and allowed home.

Mrs Stott said doctors told him he was free to fly.

However, she claimed her father did not disclose the condition on his policy with Puffin Insurance and as a result the firm is refusing to pay for their travel costs home.

The mother-of-three said: "Because they were told they could fly home we assumed everything was okay. He is in a coma because of the heart attack, not the pericarditis so we think they should pay out."

She added that the British Embassy in Cyprus is now making enquiries with the company on their behalf.

Mrs Stott travelled over to Cyprus for a week and was heartbroken to see the state of their father.

She said: "He was always so full of life, laughing and joking. It was horrible to see him in that state.

"The medical staff are now wanting to move him into an institution and we can't bear the thought of him being there so far away from home."

An online fundraising page has been set up and they are urging the public to get behind them. Residents in Toll Bar are already organising a fundraising day.

Mrs Stott said: "The community has been brilliant. We are a hard-working family and never ask for anything. But this time we need your help."

Puffin Insurance had not replied to our requests for comment at the time of going to press.

A DRI spokesperson said: "When a patient has been in hospital and asks about going on holiday overseas, our standard advice is to check with the travel insurance company before travelling.

"We have not currently had any contact with Mr Harper’s family but if they would like to contact us we would be happy to answer any specific questions they have."

To donate visit www.justgiving.com and type Stephen Harper into the search bar.