Insurers have backed down and agreed to cover a British mother’s £10,000-a-day hospital bills as she fights for her life in a Turkish hospital – as her daughter thanks the Good Samaritans who raised £37,000 for a flight home.
Stephanie Uyar said her dream holiday turned into a ‘horror movie,’ after her mother collapsed at her husband’s home and was given just 48 hours to live on August 18.
Since then Carole Fleming, 67, has been in the hospital with a blood disorder related to a potential bone marrow deficiency.
The British Consulate had said they will not repatriate the breast cancer-survivor while she is still alive, Stephanie claimed,
Her family say insurer Axa initially refused to pay the the hospital bills – due to a link to her previous illness.
The desperate daughter launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise £25,000 for a commercial air ambulance to bring the mother-of-two back to Britain and into the hands of the NHS.
Since MailOnline shared the family’s appeal last night, they have raised over £37,000 – and Axa have agreed to start paying the medical bills.
Speaking today, Mrs Uyar, 36, said: ‘This morning, the Doctors at Mugla Hospital told me it was now or never – either we start Mum on the desperately-needed IVIG treatment, or she dies today.
‘It was as simple at that.
British mother Carole Fleming, 67, (pictured in hospital) is fighting for her life in a Turkish hospital after coming down with a mystery illness
Carole’s daughter Stephanie Uyar (pictured together in Turkey), launched a desperate fundraiser to try and pay for her mother’s treatment and get her home
‘When we first asked MailOnline for help, our GoFundMe page was stuck on £4,000 and nobody was listening to us.
‘Less than 24 hours later, we’ve raised over £37,000 to give mum the lifeline she deserves.
‘The money you helped us raise by donating so generously to our GoFundMe page means that she is starting her IVIG treatment as I write this from an uncomfortable hospital chair.
‘We are truly humbled by the way that thousands of total strangers pulled together and did their bit to bring our beloved mum home.
‘Your kindness in our darkest hour is an extraordinary testament to the human spirit, and has brought us more hope and comfort than we could ever fully convey.
‘As wonderful as today’s news is, we’re not out of the woods yet. After the MailOnline story went viral, AXA promised to do their bit to bring her home – but even with the treatment, she’s not stable enough to fly on an air ambulance.’
Carole has given her thanks after thousands of pounds flooded in on Wednesday to help get her home to Britain
Carole Fleming (middle right) pictured with her daughter Stephanie (bottom left), was visiting in laws in Turkey, before she collapsed on August 18
Mrs Uyar said she feels like she’s ‘trapped in a horror movie’. Her mother’s condition in intensive care in Muğla is so dire she ‘cries blood’ due to her body’s inability to clot. Pictured: Ms Fleming with her son-in-law’s mother Hilal
Ms Fleming’s brother Ian, 55, claims medics in Turkey mistakenly believed his sister’s illness was brought about by a medication related to her breast cancer – which she was recovered from last year.
The link to her previous condition meant her medical insurer would not cover the costs.
Earlier today her insurer, Axa, backed down.
Doctors backtracked when they took Ms Fleming off the medication and her condition got worse.
Ms Fleming was in Turkey visiting her daughter’s husband Alper Uyar’s family when she felt tired before collapsing on August 18.
She was rushed to hospital where doctors tested her blood. They found her platelet count was just 6,000 per microlitre of blood – the minimum safe level is 150,000. This means she’s unable to form clots, and needs regular transfusions just to stay alive.
Mrs Uyar has thanked ‘Carole’s angels’ who raised £37,000 in the space of a day
She’s been moved around several hospitals in Turkey. Her platelet count is now just 1,000 per microlitre.
Mrs Uyar said yesterday: ‘In the last three weeks, there have only been two nights when I’ve not stayed by her side in a hospital chair.
‘It’s not even a duty, it’s a reflex. After everything she’s done for me the least I can do is be by her side.
‘It’s like I’m trapped in a horror movie. The things I’ve seen and witnessed in the last three weeks, I wouldn’t wish them on my worst enemy.
‘No child should see their mother in a condition like that.
‘To see the woman who’s always been my rock, who’s always been there to help me, to see her so vulnerable in a strange place. I’ll have nightmares about this ward for the rest of my life.
‘I’ve been trying to keep her mind off it by talking about EastEnders or gossiping about people we met on the beach, but it’s hard to stay composed when I look up and see my mum like this.
‘Her blood can’t clot, so she has constant uncontrollable nosebleeds – sometimes she even cries blood. At one point her tongue was just one huge blood blister, she could barely talk.
‘Back on August 18 the doctors gave her 48 hours to live. But she’s a fighter, and she’s still here – even though they don’t know what’s wrong with her yet. She’s refusing to give up. She’s told me she’s not going to die in this hospital.
Stephanie now hopes her mother Carole will be able to fly home on Monday, where she can be passed into the care of the NHS
Ms Fleming was in Turkey visiting her daughter’s husband Alper Uyar’s family when she felt tired before collapsing on August 18. Pictured: Mr and Mrs Ulyar
‘She’ll make it home, somehow. I don’t care what I have to do to make that happen, I’ll do it.
‘When the doctors said they couldn’t start treatment without the money, I immediately asked if there was a form I could sign where they’d start it and if I didn’t pay, I’d go to prison.
‘I don’t care how bad the prisons are out here. I don’t care if it’s 15 years, 20 years, 25 years – I’d do that time in a heartbeat if it gave mum a chance of making it.
‘She’s been my best friend for my entire life. She was there when I met my husband – we were on holiday in Turkey like best friends, and I tripped over outside Alper’s shop, and he just caught me.
‘It was like a movie – I think she knew on the spot that I’d marry him.
‘I might lose my mum and my best friend because of an insurance loophole, and that’s what’s hardest to come to terms with.
‘It’s not right that my mum could be taken away because of a form in an office somewhere.
‘I just hope the insurance underwriters have a heart and realise what’s at stake.’
Mr Fleming told how Turkish doctors mistakenly revoked her cover by telling the insurance firm the low platelet count was down to Carole’s breast cancer medication.
Mrs Uyar (right and left with her husband Alper, mother Ms Fleming and brother Alex Haworth before her mother fell ill) was trying to raise £25,000 for a commercial air ambulance to bring the mother-of-two – who is currently in intensive care in Muğla – back to Britain and into the hands of the NHS
He raged: ‘They said Carole’s issues were a side-effect of hormone tablets she was taking for her breast cancer recovery.
‘But when she stopped taking them nothing changed. If anything, she got worse.
‘The doctors admitted they were wrong and the insurance company is looking into her case, but these things take time.
‘Every hour counts. At the moment all they can do is keep up the blood transfusions, but she needs immunoglobulin therapy just to get her in shape to fly home.
‘That costs £10,000 a day. So far we’ve dug deep to pay £7,000, but that kind of money just isn’t possible.
Mrs Fleming was rushed to hospital where doctors tested her blood. Mrs Fleming (left) with her son-in-law’s parents Hilal and Osman
‘The doctors are ready and waiting to start, but they can’t do anything until they know who’s paying for it. That’s just how it works.
‘It’s such a difficult situation – if I was out in Turkey I would have lost my temper by now.
‘Carole means the world to me. She helped raise me, she’s more than just a sister.
‘She’s just an incredibly kind, incredibly warm, caring person.
‘She spent her life helping disadvantaged kids into apprenticeships, and those success stories always gave her such a lift.
‘After all she’s done to help people, it’s awful to think that she could die because of something like an insurance error.
Ms Fleming (right with Mr and Mrs Uyar) has been moved around several hospitals in Turkey. Her platelet count is now just 1,000 per microlitre
‘Steph has been amazing throughout all of this, her and Alper are just such an incredibly warm, supporting people who would move heaven and earth to help Carole.
‘She’s going through hell, and probably feels like her mum is being unnecessarily ripped away.
‘I’m trying to be strong for them, but I feel so helpless. So utterly helpless.
‘There’s nothing we can do from the UK. We’re just sat here going around in circles while Carole is fighting for her life out in Turkey.
‘We called the Foreign Office and they said there was nothing they can do – but then told us they’d “repatriate” her if she died.
‘We’re the fifth richest nation in the world. It’s not that we don’t have the means to fly a citizen home.’
To donate to Mrs Uyar’s GoFundMe appeal, click here.
A Foreign Office spokesperson said: ‘We are in contact with the family of a British woman who has been admitted to hospital in Turkey.’