Injured OAP £20k in debt despite insurance cover

Milton and Moira Hamilton in the ERI following their holiday hell in Corfu. Picture: contributed
Milton and Moira Hamilton in the ERI following their holiday hell in Corfu. Picture: contributed
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A pensioner has been left nearly £20,000 in debt after claiming her husband was “abandoned” by their insurance company when he suffered a serious head injury on holiday in Corfu.

Moira and Milton Hamilton, who are both retired school lollipop crossing wardens, had only spent one day on the popular holiday island when Milton, 63, slipped on rocks during a walk along the beach.

His injuries meant he had to be placed in a medically-induced coma, but after discovering bedsores across his back and seeing him lose weight, Moira, also 63, who lives in Balgreen, said she was forced to hire nurses to provide care for him.

The family, including son Ross, 25, then raised £23,000 to have Milton flown back to Edinburgh, where doctors told him he could have died if he had not received proper care.

Despite this, the couple’s insurance company has refused to pay out, forcing them to take their fight to the ombudsman.

The couple had taken out a policy with Bank of Scotland, which was underwritten by Great Lakes Reinsurance UK.

Mrs Hamilton said: “We were walking along the beach to a taverna when Milton slipped on a rock covered in seaweed and banged his head. He said he was fine, but I noticed when we were sitting down that his hands were shaking, which is a sign of shock.

“He was taken to a local clinic for observation, but started fitting during the night and was transferred to the general hospital where they put him in a medically-induced coma at first. He was very unwell and this went on for a number of weeks.”

Mrs Hamilton said she first noticed something was amiss when she turned her husband on his side to help him swallow water.

She said: “There were bedsores all over his back. He was rapidly losing weight and I began to suspect he was not being fed or cared for properly.”

Terrified that her husband’s health was at risk, Mrs Hamilton hired three nurses at the cost of 300 euros (£255) a day to work in shifts and provide round-the-clock care.

However, she believes this is the reason her travel insurance company – which also refused to help the family transport Mr Hamilton back to Edinburgh – has refused to pay up on their policy.

She said: “They basically abandoned us. My case has now been referred to the ombudsman.

“It cost £23,000 to bring Milton back to Edinburgh, where there was an ambulance waiting for him on the tarmac. The doctors who examined him said as well as the bedsores there were injuries on his backside consistent with being left on a bedpan for hours.

“One of the doctors said if we’d left him where he was he would have died.”

Mr Hamilton is now on the road to recovery but the family face an anxious wait to hear if they can expect any financial help. A spokeswoman for Great Lakes said: “The policy was underwritten by First Assist, an agent of Great Lakes. First Assist handled the claim and came to the conclusion that the claim was not covered by the policy. A complaint was made to First Assist by the insured and was rejected by First Assist.”

The family have also contacted their local MP, Mike Crockart, for assistance.

He said: “I share Mrs Hamilton’s concerns about the standard of care her husband received in Greece and have asked her MEP, George Lyon, to look into it. I have also contacted senior Bank of Scotland management to raise concerns about the way their underwriters have handled Mrs Hamilton’s claim. Banks need to ensure their customers can rely on the support abroad provided by these bundled accounts.”

Corfu General Hospital did not respond to a request for comment.