Sister’s agony over treatment

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A SOUTH Yorkshire woman was asked for more than £1,000 before medics would treat her brother after he fell ill on holiday in Indonesia.

Dale Nord, aged 43, may have survived had he not been refused treatment by doctors for four hours until they received cash up front, an inquest heard.

He was brought unconscious into the medical facility in Jakarta after falling ill at his hotel.

But the hospital demanded £1,040 before they would move him into the hospital’s intensive care unit, the hearing was told.

The inquest heard Dale’s sister, April, from Barnsley, first knew of her brother’s plight when she received a phone call on January 5, 2008, from one of Dale’s friends saying he had been taken to hospital, but the doctors wouldn’t treat him in intensive care until they received the money asked for - a standard charge as he had no medical insurance.

The inquest was told April contacted the British Embassy but they were unable to pay and the hospital wouldn’t accept a credit card as a signature could not be provided.

In the end, Dale’s friend paid 700 dollars to get him moved into intensive care, but later that day April was told her brother had died.

Reading April’s statement to Bradford Coroner’s Court, coroner Roger Whittaker said: “She was appalled at the medical treatment in the hospital in Jakarta.

“If 700 dollars had not been handed over it is likely he would not have been treated at all.”

Giving evidence, Dr Mark Freeman said the most likely cause of death was alcoholic ketoacidosis - the alcohol in his system stopping the body from synthesising its blood sugar and leading to increased acidity.

Dale, from Ossett, West Yorkshire, had a history of drinking and evidence stated that when he drank he didn’t eat which may have contributed.

When asked by the coroner if he believed that Dale would have survived with quicker treatment, Dr Freeman said:

“His chance of survival would have been greater had he received emergency treatment as soon as he came through the door.”

Giving a narrative verdict Mr Whittaker said: “It is a tragic case which has gone on for a long time. Inevitably there are problems when dealing with a death from abroad.

“This condition was not recognised by clinicians treating him.

“As a matter of fact there were delays in the treatment.

“I believe if there had not been those delays he may have survived.”

He added that there wasn’t enough evidence to satisfy him that Dale would definitely have survived.