Edinburgh mum stranded in Spanish hospital after being struck down by holiday bug

An Edinburgh pensioner is stranded in a Spanish hospital after developing an infection in both of her legs while celebrating her daughter’s 50th in Mallorca.

The family of Joan Rose, 82, have launched a fundraising campaign for £20,000 to get her home as she approaches her second week in a Palma hospital.

Due to complications with their insurance provider, the family have been left with no other option but to ask for help from strangers to cover the repatriation and medical costs.

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Joan’s daughter Natasha says the family are embarrassed to have to ask for help but unfortunately have no access to such a large amount of cash.

Natasha, her husband David and her mum Joan, had travelled to Mallorca for a ten-day holiday on April 2 to mark Natasha’s birthday.

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But the relaxing break turned into a holiday from hell when Joan began to feel unwell on April 8 and contacted her daughter and son-in-law. When they rushed to her side, they noticed that her legs appeared swollen and were a concerning dark shade of pink.

After consulting with local doctors, Joan was raced to Palma hospital where a series of tests were carried out to try to decipher the cause of the infection.

Eventually doctors were able to diagnose Joan, who worked for years on Edinburgh’s children's panel, with a streptococcal infection in both of her legs.

“We arrived in Mallorca on April 2 and were having a great time,” Natasha said. “But on Monday 8, my mum sent my husband and I a text saying she was not feeling very well.

“We headed round to her apartment and saw that her legs had turned a dark shade of pink. The receptionist at the aparthotel called a doctor and we were taken to a local hospital but they decided to transfer her by ambulance to a larger hospital in Palma so a full range of tests could be carried out.

“They ran all sorts of tests and initially were worried it could be a blood clot. A number of illnesses were ruled out and she was placed on an IV, antibiotics and painkillers.

“Eventually they came to the diagnosis that she had a streptococcal infection in the skin of both of her legs. She had some tests done on her heart and they also found that she had a slightly enlarged ventricle but it wasn’t thought to be too serious and that it could be treated after she returned home.

“We tried to put in a claim on our insurance but have been told they would only cover 51 per cent of the costs. This means we will have to fork out roughly €30,000 to get her back home.

“My mum has been in the hospital since April 8, and although my husband and I extended our stay by 10 days, we have had to come home because we are incurring too many charges. We are desperate to get her back with us.”

Natasha and David were able to stay at a friend's apartment for another 10 days but Joan encouraged the pair to return home as Natasha also suffers from complex health issues and required her own treatment. The family also felt it was best to try to save as much money as possible in order to try and get Joan home.

“We were able to stay an extra ten days through a friend but I have health issues and require medication that I did not have enough of in Spain,” Natasha added. “Since we knew we may have to fork out €30,000 due to the issues with the insurance, my mum encouraged us to head back so that we could raise as much money as possible.

“My mum has been really up and down since she was admitted to hospital. She was getting really down about not being able to communicate.

“She could not figure out how to use Google translate for the first ten days and has struggled being an old lady in a foreign hospital. My mum has had to wear a nappy and feels humiliated by the whole thing.

“It has been very stressful for her and she is facing some pressure from the hospital as she is due to be discharged soon. We just do not have €30,000 to pay the fees.

“I’m on disability benefits as I’m unable to work due to complex ptsd and physical ailments. My husband is also my carer.

“My mum worked all her life and only retired when she was 72. I feel absolutely terrible about the situation and we have family spread all over the world in Israel, America and South Africa.

“It is horrendously stressful for everyone as we are all in different time zones. The stress has even taken its toll on my own health as I’ve developed a chest infection and have had to go see my doctor to get emotional support.”

Natasha has described the situation as ‘awful’ and says that the family are beside themselves knowing that their selfless mum is trapped in Spain.

Joan, who now lives in the Scottish Borders after 40 years in the capital, has been described as a charitable woman by her daughter and someone who has dedicated her own life to helping others.

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“The whole thing is awful,” Natasha added. “We feel so helpless about what to do as the longer she is in hospital the more charges she is incurring. My mum is a truly incredible woman. She has been through so much.

“She had a stroke in 2014 and was misdiagnosed with vascular dementia and spent 13 months in a nursing home, unable to walk or feed herself. She used a physio and learned how to walk again and live mostly independently.

“The year she was in a nursing home my brother died from a heart attack brought on by an overdose, she has overcome so much. My mum is a very good person and she does not deserve any of this.

“She would do anything she can to help others. My mum has been involved in helping so many local causes despite her health difficulties.

“Both of us are incredibly embarrassed to have to ask for financial help. We have never had to do anything like this before.”

To support the family’s fundraiser, please click here.