A Tale Close to Home

6 February 2015

Often as Insurance advisers we hear real-life stories highlighting those who have had to make insurance claims and the difference it makes having the right cover in place. It is safe to say that nobody who has ever had to make a claim on personal risk Life or Trauma insurance has ever said, “You know I was paying too much on those premiums for the amount of money received when we needed it most”. Yet it’s hard to share those stories in a town where it is important to respect client’s privacy, especially in a situation where there may be ongoing treatments or further issues to be dealt with. So a letter received from a long term friend living overseas describing (In their words) “the worst time of our lives” seemed a perfect illustration of the uncertainty of life and health, and a good reminder why it is important to consider your insurance options at every age and stage of life.

Here is their story;

Their 19 year old son started suffering headaches in early January last year and was admitted to Kings College Hospital in London. After many tests and scans the consultant said he had a cyst at the base of his brain, blocking the flow of cranial spinal fluid which was causing hydrocephalus (A build up of fluid around the brain). He had to have an operation to insert a small catheter which would bypass the cyst and allow the fluid to flow freely again. However, there was a problem during surgery and he suffered a massive brain haemorrhage. Amazingly, he pulled through, but suffered FOUR aneurysms and a massive blood clot on the main vein to his heart, leading to more risky operations which left him with several further problems. He lost around 15 Kilos and his muscles wasted away as he was in hospital for so long. He couldn’t walk, talk or see properly and his short term memory was very badly affected. After five months in hospital and a month in a brain injury rehabilitation unit he finally returned home on July 4th. He had several therapists helping get him back on track and then much to the disbelief of the experts he returned to his studies with the help of carers who sat alongside him to help take notes as it was often hard for him to keep up with the lesson.

It turned out that what the neuro-surgeons had diagnosed as a cyst was actually a benign tumour. It grew in size by another 3mm and caused vision problems as it pressed on the nerves controlling eye movement. After 6 ½ hours of further surgery, 90% of the tumour was removed. The latest prognosis is that it is unknown whether the tumour will grow back or stay at its current size. He is undergoing MRI scans every 3 months but has to be sedated while he has them due to an anxiety attack suffered during his first scan. He may need to undergo further radiotherapy or proton treatment. Currently he is trying to get back on with a normal life, still wanting to go out with his mates on a Friday night, despite the fact that he has trouble walking in a straight line and that there has been no improvement in his eyesight since the operation.

As my friends put it, “It’s been an awful time for all of us as our lives have been turned upside down”. Fortunately, they have private medical healthcare cover, which has allowed their son to receive the best treatment including specialist consultations without any delay. Furthermore a trauma cover was able to provide funds to cover the expenses incurred due to the amount of time that the family have spent at his bedside. My friend being self-employed was able to go to work in the morning, then take afternoon visiting time off to be with his boy, but without making sure that there were sufficient funds available, there would have been even more stress than that already experienced. 

I will be catching up with the family again soon and look forward to the day when I hear that their son is fully recovered to a level where life can return to normal. Life may not always go to plan, so it is important to make sure that your loved ones are covered whatever situation you may find yourself in.


Published In Whakatane Beacon

This post was written by

John White - who has written 90 posts

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