British tourist struck down with severe flu virus in Thailand sent mum text saying ‘I’m dying here’

Ashley and his mum Julie (Picture: Chris Shorley)
Ashley and his mum Julie (Picture: Chris Shorley)

A British tourist who was struck down with a flu virus in Thailand sent his mum a text saying “I’m dying here” as he lay sick in the hospital.

Ashley Shorley, 32, was initially feared to have the deadly Chinese Coronavirus but this has been ruled out, with doctors diagnosing him with serious flu instead.

Ashley messaged his mum Julie from Phuket on December 27 after becoming ill while staying on the Phi Phi Islands.

The Brit quickly deteriorated and was placed on a ventilator before his parents arrived from Spain, where they had been taking a holiday.

Chris and Julie Shorley from Thorton, Lancashire, were told their son was “two days away from death” as the virus could have spread to his heart.

His condition has now stabilised and he has taken his first steps since contracting the illness.

The death toll from coronavirus rose to nine on Wednesday with 440 confirmed cases.

Mr Shorley said Ashley’s illness was their “worst nightmare as parents” and the “stress has been off the scale”.

Ashley Shorley was put on a ventilator and was said to be "two days away from death" (Picture: Chris Shorley)
Ashley Shorley was put on a ventilator and was said to be "two days away from death" (Picture: Chris Shorley)

He told Yahoo UK: “Julie noticed there was something wrong when Ashley started sending garbled text messages and sent a picture from Phuket hospital.

“First thing he said was I am dying here mum.

“She was brilliant, she contacted me and got insurance to move him by seaplane to Bangkok otherwise he would have died.

“The drains in Phuket into his lungs were too small and did not drain fluid hence the infection.”

Ashley Shorley and his dad Chris (Picture: Chris Shorley)
Ashley Shorley and his dad Chris (Picture: Chris Shorley)

Mr Shorley added his son was still very ill after undergoing a five-hour operation at Bumrungrad Hospital to remove abscesses and puss from his lungs.

He said Ashley, who is being treated with antibiotics and other drugs, would not be allowed to travel home until the grade A influenza virus had gone.

He currently has a hole in his lung and needs oxygen to breathe.

Mr Shorley said: “His lungs were covered with a thick plasma, his outer sack filled with poison puss so his lungs could not expand hence he had urgent seaplane transfer to Bangkok.

“He may undergo an operation when his fever from pneumonia drops to the correct level.”


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Mr Shorley, who is now making his way back to the UK, has appealed for donations to help with Ashley’s rehabilitation.

You can donate to Ashley’s Gofundme page here.

Mr Shorley said the British embassy had been in touch to offer its support. He also thanked family, friends, nurses and doctors for their help.

A Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) spokesperson said: “Our staff are supporting a British man who has been admitted to hospital in Thailand.

“We are also assisting his family and remain in contact with the medical team treating him.”