Irishman’s life hangs by a thread after mosquito bite in Thailand

Photo courtesy of Irish Mirror

A truck driver from Cork, Ireland, is fighting for his life in a Bangkok hospital after an unexpected twist of fate following a rare mosquito bite in Thailand.

The Burke family now faces daily bills of 2,700 euros (103,213 baht) for his intensive care, leaving them in a desperate plea for help.

Originally planning to return home on November 19, 36 year old James Burke excitedly texted his family, expressing his anticipation for the reunion. However, tragedy struck during his taxi ride to the airport, and he was later diagnosed with Dengue fever, reported the Irish Independent.

Margaret Creed, James’ sister, revealed the family’s anguish.

“James never made it home. That was the last we heard from him.”

His parents, 83 year old Walter and 76 year old Maureen, alongside his eight siblings, spent days in frantic uncertainty until they discovered he was hospitalised through his hotel.

Facing a critical decision, Thai clinicians requested permission to intubate James in Bangkok Hospital. Speaking to PJ Coogan on the 96FM Opinion Line, Burke’s mother Maureen disclosed the dire situation.

“He had acute kidney failure, pneumonia, a bleed on the brain and severe nerve damage. We don’t know if he will ever be the same again, and we can’t go out to him because we have spent every penny of our savings on the hospital.”

Financial burden

Despite having holiday insurance, it had expired by the time of admission, leaving the family financially burdened as the insurance company refused coverage. The option of air ambulance transport back to Ireland looms at a daunting 176,000 euros (6 million baht), reported Daily Mail UK.

James’ sister updates on his condition.

“He remains intubated in intensive care with a vacant look in his eyes most of the time. We are at the end of our tether. We have been through every TD [member of the lower house of the Irish Parliament]. Our family is so distressed.”

Desperation has led the Burke family to set up a GoFundMe page to bring James back to Ireland, where he can receive care in a local intensive care unit. The language barrier in communicating with Thai doctors intensifies their concerns, prompting the plea for financial assistance.

“The cost [of] the hospital is 2,700 euros daily, and this will continue until James can come home. We as a family have exhausted our savings and are in serious crisis. We are waiting for a miracle now. Christmas is fast approaching, and all we want is to have our brother James home.”

Irishman's life hangs by a thread after mosquito bite in Thailand | News by Thaiger

Photo courtesy of Happiest Health

Factfile on the mosquito-borne dengue virus, which is estimated to infect up to 400 million people a year and is common in more than 100 countries worldwide. – AFP / AFP

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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