Stuart Hurst, 55, Marrickville, Sydney.
Most Australians love adventure, and Stuart Hurst was no different. Coming from a large family, Stuart, 55, took the reins on his life by backpacking through Asia and ended up in Nepal May 2018. Though the Hurst family knew the dangers of travelling, nothing could prepare them for what happened to Stuart on that rural road in Pokhara in Nepal.
“He loved to travel…” recalls Phil, Stuart’s brother.
Before travelling around the globe, Stuart lived in New Zealand after overcoming the struggle of being newly single after a marriage breakdown.
After travelling through the Philippines, Stuart met a fellow traveller who advised him to volunteer in Nepal at a primary school where he worked as a handyman while continuing his motorcycle riding through Asia.
Stuart’s brother Phil sat down with Fast Cover to share his brother’s tragic accident on the 20th of May 2018. Stuart lost control of his motorcycle on a rural road in Pokhara, Nepal, after attempting to overtake a Hilux Ute in a remote road. He was then taken to Manipal Teaching Hospital. Luckily Stuart’s travel insurance was purchased by his niece who worked for Consular for Foreign Affairs; a trusty resource for the family in a time of overseas tragedy.
Because of the severity of Stuart’s medical situation, Phil (Stuart’s brother) was able to sign the Emergency Claims Disclaimer allowing the hospital to begin treatment on Stuart while Fast Cover gathered all the necessary information in the event that he was uncoverable.
From the moment he was placed in emergency care, it was touch and go for Stuart. Phil was notified through Smartraveller 24-hours after the incident and was able to organise an airlift in Kathmandu for Stuart, where they met Stuart’s other brother who was also travelling through Asia and had met with Stuart the previous week. Stuart was flown from Kathmandu to Bangkok with his brother and three children before recovering in Bangkok hospital before being flown back to Australia on a Careflight medivac service.
Stuart suffered from back pressure and the hole in his head from the impact. At this point Stuart was on life support and needed major surgery on his ribs along with the daunting task of putting his spine back together. Unfortunately, Stuart underwent a number of operations while he was overseas and remained in a coma until he arrived back to Australia for treatment.
But there was hope for Stuart, beginning to lift his eyes up slightly while still in Bangkok.
Though his condition was critical, Stuart was moved to the spinal unit to continue to work through his injuries.
Due to Stuart’s state, he would never be the same as he was before the accident. Phil has confirmed Stuart’s doctors believe him to be 90% normal, because of neuroplasticity around the brain that can rewire themselves after trauma and damage. Phil tells Fast Cover the Brain Injury Specialist confirmed Stuart was not going to get through this as a normal person but with assistance and rehabilitation, Stuart would recover as much as he could.
Currently being a paraplegic, Stuart still has 24 hours supervision. Though Stuart believes he is mobile, his motivation is a sign of a fighting spirit and determination to get back his quality of life.
Despite everything, Stuart was lucky, having almost been sent to Delhi from Kathmandu for treatment. One of Phil’s daughters had worked in Bangkok in the Embassy for three years and one of his other daughters had also undergone major surgery in Bangkok – Stuart’s family was not unaccustomed to how the medical team worked in Bangkok. “Use the Embassy,” says Phil Hurst.
“The biggest thing is that if you have family travelling always make sure you know who their travel insurance provider is in case of an emergency.”
Phil was able to find Fast Cover because Stuart ‘liked’ Fast Cover Travel Insurance on Facebook. “It was like winning the lottery! (finding out the Stuart was covered by Fast Cover.)”
Currently Stuart’s family is doing well and supporting Stuart through his rehabilitation. Stuart’s four living brothers, son, daughter and step-daughter were all by his side during his treatment and current placement in Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney.
“I would recommend Fast Cover – the medical team in New Zealand was amazing… if we didn’t have Fast Cover and my daughter, we (the family) would have been lost.”
Fast Cover thanks Phil, Stuart's brother for sharing their story to highlight the importance of purchasing travel insurance and how it helped in his specific circumstances. If you'd like to share your travel insurance claim story to help your fellow travellers, you can do so here.